crim·i·nal·i·ty | \ˌkri-mə-ˈna-lə-tē \

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

Much of his alleged criminality occurred prior to his association with the Trump campaign. Peter Grier, The Christian Science Monitor, "Paul Manafort goes to jail: Three questions," 15 June 2018 The language, Jazmine Ulloa wrote, was part of a pattern of using rhetoric about criminality to dehumanize undocumented migrants. David Lauter,, "Faced with a political crisis, Trump blinks, but the crisis isn't close to being over," 22 June 2018 Police detectives eagerly adopted these methods, which linked criminality to specific physical traits like the shape of a person’s head or the size of his nose. Sarah Weinman, The New Republic, "Arthur Conan Doyle, True Detective," 14 June 2018 Social media have also been blamed for glamorizing criminality. Kate Samuelson, Time, "London’s Murder Rate Soars as Police Struggle to Fight Spike in Violent Crime," 12 Apr. 2018 God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Clash Between Duterte and Catholic Church in Philippines Intensifies," 9 July 2018 God’s mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God’s holy name, those who slander and bear false witness and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Bishops call for 3-day fasting after Duterte says God stupid," 9 July 2018 That this disparity could be explained by the fact that there haven’t been any recent presidential campaigns swarming with criminality is not a possibility the Journal contemplates. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s FBI Spy Theory Is Completely Insane," 23 May 2018 Before participating, all were given a series of tests and questionnaires measuring such things as personality, criminality and childhood social adversity. Amy Ellis Nutt, Washington Post, "Zapping the brain appears to decrease aggressive intentions, new study says," 2 July 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

3 Oct 2018

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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 \

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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Comments on criminality

What made you want to look up criminality? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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