Definition of crime
1 : an illegal act for which someone can be punished by the government; especially : a gross violation of law
2 : a grave offense especially against morality
3 : criminal activity efforts to fight crime
4 : something reprehensible, foolish, or disgraceful It's a crime to waste good food.
crimelessplay \ˈkrīm-ləs\ adjective
Examples of crime in a Sentence
She paid dearly for her crimes.
evidence that helped them solve the crime
He was punished for a crime that he didn't commit.
the recent increase in violent crime
Being single is not a crime.
There's no greater crime than forgetting your anniversary.
Recent Examples of crime from the Web
That might be one of the effort’s biggest hurdles, trying to draw sympathy for people who committed crimes.
As Japan’s ruler during World War II, Akihito’s father, Emperor Shōwa, was accused of carrying out horrific war crimes.
Neither Barrack, 70, nor the 32 other individuals and companies named as suspects by the prosecutor in the filing, have been charged with any crime.
Online opinions are varied for the show, but there's more hope than dismissal thus far — which leads one to hope that African-American crime fighters will become more prevalent on the screen.
Police are investigating it as an act of vandalism and a possible hate crime.
At least seven hours elapsed between the first shootings and Godbolt's arrest near the final crime scene, in a subdivision of ranch houses.
John (Kyle Chandler) — who in Season 1 morphed from the keeper of his menacing older brother, Danny (Ben Mendelsohn), into his murderer — has fled the scene of the crime.
Kevin Brown’s widow filed the lawsuit after her husband, who worked in the department’s crime lab from 1982 to 2002, was found dead off the highway at Cuyamaca State Park in 2014.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crime'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of crime
Middle English, “wrongdoing, sin,” borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin crīmin-, crīmen “accusation, charge, indictment, source of an accusation, misdeed, offense,” probably from crī-, variant stem of cernere “to sift, discern, decide, determine” + -men, resultative noun suffix (probably originally “decision,” then “judicial decision, indictment”) — more at 1certain
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of crime
CRIME Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of crime for Students
1 : the act of doing something forbidden by law or the failure to do an act required by law
2 : an act that is foolish or wrong It's a crime to waste food.
Legal Definition of crime
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 : criminal activity
Origin and Etymology of crime
Middle French, from Latin crimen fault, accusation, crime
Seen and Heard
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