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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Synonyms & Antonyms for delinquency


belatedness, lateness, tardiness


earliness, prematureness, prematurity

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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

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 With decades-old land disputes still unresolved, many have chosen to remain in unzoned, ramshackle villages and encampments lacking basic services, reluctant to move into the towns that quickly acquired a reputation for drug abuse and delinquency. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "Israelis Play Tourists in a Bedouin Town in the Negev," 6 June 2018 The state allowed McKelvey to plea guilty to the lesser charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against him. Colin Stutz, Billboard, "Charlamagne Tha God's 2001 Rape Case Will Not Be Reopened," 12 July 2018 Children languishing in the state’s dependency and delinquency system embody our inability to better govern. miamiherald, "Leigh-Ann Buchanan," 30 June 2018 The new approach will place a greater emphasis on customer service and early outreach to address delinquencies with the full range of early options for borrowers. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, Washington Post, "Trump administration to hand student debt collection to loan servicers, ending use of collectors," 25 May 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

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Statistics for delinquency

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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