crim·​i·​nal·​i·​ty | \ ˌkri-mə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce criminality (audio) \

Definition of criminality

1 : the quality or state of being criminal
2 : criminal activity urban criminality

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Synonyms for criminality


crime, lawbreaking, lawlessness

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Examples of criminality in a Sentence

criminality and physical violence often go hand in hand

Recent Examples on the Web

Gugino plays Jett, a thief living in a Leonard-esque retro world of chatty-violent criminality. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch this weekend: Lots of sex, drugs, and teen drama in HBO's Euphoria," 14 June 2019 O’Hare argued that prosecutors had proved not only that Pantaleo put Garner in a chokehold but that his behavior had been reckless to the point of criminality. Wesley Lowery, Washington Post, "‘I can’t breathe.’ Five years after Eric Garner died in struggle with New York police, resolution still elusive.," 13 June 2019 Martin Finkelnberg, head of the Dutch national police’s art and antique criminality team, welcomed the recovery. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Dutch art sleuth recovers Picasso stolen 20 years ago," 27 Mar. 2019 Certain kinds of criminality are inherent in the Italian race. Juliet Grames,, "An open letter to my white MAGA-voting uncles on the occasion of my Italian-born great aunt’s funeral," 20 June 2019 This sort of existential criminality, in nearly any other country, would lead to madness among horse people and spectators. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "The Palio di Siena: A Survivor’s Tale," 16 Apr. 2018 That's born out of his own very complicated relationship with criminality; having been born in prison to criminal parents, resenting that fact, and so therefore wanting to push that side of himself away... Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "David Oyelowo on Javert's Tragic Suicide in Les Misérables," 20 May 2019 It has been linked to everything from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to bipolar disorder, but its affect on criminality is still unknown. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Can You Really Have a Serial Killer Gene like Betty on "Riverdale"?," 9 May 2019 For the past 229 years, hardly a day has passed without an outraged legislator accusing the president of tyranny, corruption, or criminality. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics: High Stakes and ‘High Crimes’," 1 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'criminality.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of criminality

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for criminality

criminal entry 1 + -ity, perhaps after French criminalité

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Statistics for criminality

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for criminality

The first known use of criminality was in 1611

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More Definitions for criminality


crim·​i·​nal·​i·​ty | \ ˌkri-mə-ˈna-lə-tē How to pronounce criminality (audio) \

Legal Definition of criminality

1 : the quality or state of being criminal can't understand the criminality of his act
2 : crime sense 3 violent criminality

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More from Merriam-Webster on criminality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with criminality

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for criminality

Britannica English: Translation of criminality for Arabic Speakers

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