noun \ˈkrīm\

Definition of crime

  1. 1 :  an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government; especially :  a gross violation of law

  2. 2 :  a grave offense especially against morality

  3. 3 :  criminal activity efforts to fight crime

  4. 4 :  something reprehensible, foolish, or disgraceful It's a crime to waste good food.


play \-ləs\ adjective

Examples of crime in a sentence

  1. She paid dearly for her crimes.

  2. evidence that helped them solve the crime

  3. He was punished for a crime that he didn't commit.

  4. the recent increase in violent crime

  5. Being single is not a crime.

  6. There's no greater crime than forgetting your anniversary.

Origin and Etymology of crime

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin crimen accusation, reproach, crime; probably akin to Latin cernere to sift, determine

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of crime

offense, sin, vice, crime, scandal mean a transgression of law. offense applies to the infraction of any law, rule, or code at that school no offense went unpunished. sin implies an offense against moral or religious law the sin of blasphemy. vice applies to a habit or practice that degrades or corrupts regarded gambling as a vice. crime implies a serious offense punishable by the law of the state the crime of murder. scandal applies to an offense that outrages the public conscience a career ruined by a sex scandal.

CRIME Defined for English Language Learners


noun \ˈkrīm\

Definition of crime for English Language Learners

  • : an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government

  • : activity that is against the law : illegal acts in general

  • : an act that is foolish or wrong

CRIME Defined for Kids


noun \ˈkrīm\

Definition of crime for Students

  1. 1 :  the act of doing something forbidden by law or the failure to do an act required by law

  2. 2 :  an act that is foolish or wrong It's a crime to waste food.

Law Dictionary


noun \ˈkrīm\

Legal Definition of crime

  1. 1 :  conduct that is prohibited and has a specific punishment (as incarceration or fine) prescribed by public law — compare delict, tort

  2. 2 :  an offense against public law usually excluding a petty violation — see also felony, misdemeanor Editor's note: Crimes in the common-law tradition were originally defined primarily by judicial decision. For the most part, common-law crimes are now codified. There is a general principle “nullum crimen sine lege,” that there can be no crime without a law. A crime generally consists of both conduct, known as the actus reus, and a concurrent state of mind, known as the mens rea.

  3. 3 :  criminal activity

Origin and Etymology of crime

Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime

Seen and Heard

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a brief usually trivial fact

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