de·​lin·​quen·​cy | \ di-ˈliŋ-kwən-sē, -ˈlin-\
plural delinquencies

Definition of delinquency

1a : a delinquent act
b : conduct that is out of accord with accepted behavior or the law especially : juvenile delinquency
2 : a debt on which payment is overdue

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Examples of delinquency in a Sentence

They tried to steer him away from delinquency by giving him a job in their store. She's been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. a series of minor delinquencies a high rate of delinquency
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Recent Examples on the Web

Westlake Financial Services, which took over servicing of the loans, hopes to avoid bondholder losses by aggressively pursuing borrowers who are in the early stage of delinquency, the firm’s president said. Ben Eisen, WSJ, "Investors Rev Up the Risk in Subprime Auto Deals," 1 Dec. 2018 In August 2014, a North Carolina mother was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile for allegedly helping her 16-year-old son try the fire challenge. Allyson Chiu, The Seattle Times, "Internet ‘fire challenge’ leaves 12-year-old Detroit girl severely burned," 21 Aug. 2018 Consider how our system approaches youthful delinquency. Vesla Mae Weaver, Vox, "The Kavanaugh hearings show who we afford a second chance and who we don’t," 28 Sep. 2018 As a result, I was charged not with leaving my son in the car, but with the misdemeanor of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Kim Brooks, Good Housekeeping, "I Left My Son Alone In the Car for 5 Minutes — And It Caused a Two-Year Legal Nightmare," 14 Aug. 2018 Now appraised at $199,000, the property was auctioned by the town last year because of tax delinquency. Jesse Leavenworth, Courant Community, "Planned Manchester Mill Conversion Passes Zoning Hurdle," 4 Apr. 2018 Overall delinquency rates also declined slightly because of improvements in student loans and mortgages. Aaron Back, WSJ, "A Worrying Turn Ahead for Auto Loans," 29 May 2018 However, if there are several foreclosures or a lot of delinquencies, that may very well suggest that the condominium association is in trouble. Benny L. Kass,, "For the newbie condo buyer, here's a quick primer," 25 May 2018 The contributing to delinquency charge was amended and the drug charges dismissed, but read into the court record, as part of a plea agreement. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hartland man who gave teen drugs, alcohol before she died in fatal crash convicted of homicide," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delinquency.' 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 delinquency

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for delinquency

delinqu(ent) entry 2 + -ency

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Statistics for delinquency

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for delinquency

The first known use of delinquency was in 1625

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More Definitions for delinquency



English Language Learners Definition of delinquency

: crimes or other morally wrong acts : illegal or immoral behavior especially by young people

: the condition of someone who owes money and is not making payments at the required or expected time


de·​lin·​quen·​cy | \ di-ˈliŋ-kwən-sē, -ˈlin- \
plural delinquencies

Medical Definition of delinquency

: conduct that is out of accord with accepted behavior or the law especially : juvenile delinquency


de·​lin·​quen·​cy | \ di-ˈliŋ-kwən-sē \
plural delinquencies

Legal Definition of delinquency

1a : the quality or state of being delinquent
b : juvenile delinquency contributing to the delinquency of a minor
2 : a debt on which payment is overdue consumer loan delinquencies

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Comments on delinquency

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


to gather or build up little by little

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