lar·​ce·​ny | \ ˈlär-snē How to pronounce larceny (audio) , ˈlär-sə-ni \
plural larcenies

Definition of larceny

: the unlawful taking of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently was arrested and charged with larceny

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Examples of larceny in a Sentence

He was arrested and charged with larceny. He has been accused of several larcenies.
Recent Examples on the Web McLain, 35, is charged with two counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of sixth-degree larceny and one count of failing to appear in court. Don Stacom,, "Berlin police charge man, 35, with car break-ins," 30 Dec. 2020 Blue was charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, and second-degree larceny, authorities said. David Aaro, Fox News, "Connecticut assault, robbery suspect, 38, claims DNA planted at crime scene by airplane," 2 Oct. 2020 Likewise, all four counties saw a decrease in larceny. Katie Rice,, "Crime in Florida decreased in 2020, and numbers can provide insight into pandemic’s lasting effect," 1 Jan. 2021 Without oversight, some people cannot resist larceny urges. Oline H. Cogdill,, "Book review: A librarian as P.I. from an author to watch," 28 Dec. 2020 Karon Grimes taken into Southington police custody Wednesday and charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit to both of those crimes, police said. Zach Murdock,, "Southington robbery victim identifies childhood friend as suspect; police discover second suspect killed in separate shooting," 4 Nov. 2020 Wasfi has a history of complaints against his animal practice and was charged with animal cruelty and third-degree larceny for allegedly performing an unnecessary surgery on a dog. Zach Murdock,, "Bridgeport veterinarian charged with animal cruelty after 10-week-old puppy’s death," 10 Dec. 2020 Cineus is being charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony, attempted larceny and trespassing according to Brookline Police, adding that Cineus is likely to be arraigned today in Brookline District Court. NBC News, "Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen's Boston-area mansion burglarized," 7 Dec. 2020 In August, Spranger pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace, a 90-day misdemeanor, with the original felony larceny charge to be dismissed. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Macomb Clerk Karen Spranger pays fine, restitution; arrest warrant recalled," 6 Nov. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for larceny

Middle English, from Anglo-French larecin theft, from Latin latrocinium robbery, from latron-, latro mercenary soldier, probably from Greek *latrōn, from latron pay

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Time Traveler for larceny

Time Traveler

The first known use of larceny was in the 15th century

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Statistics for larceny

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Larceny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for larceny


How to pronounce larceny (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of larceny

law : the act of stealing something


lar·​ce·​ny | \ ˈlär-sə-nē How to pronounce larceny (audio) \
plural larcenies

Kids Definition of larceny

: the unlawful taking of personal property without the owner's consent : theft


lar·​ce·​ny | \ ˈlär-sə-nē How to pronounce larceny (audio) \
plural larcenies

Legal Definition of larceny

: the unlawful taking and carrying away of personal property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently also : any of several types of theft (as embezzlement or obtaining another's property by false pretenses) that have been traditionally distinguished from larceny

Note: Under the Model Penal Code and in states that follow it, larceny is a type of theft. In states where larceny is currently defined as a separate crime, it may include the crimes that were distinct from it under common law.

grand larceny
: felonious larceny of property having a value greater than an amount fixed by law also : larceny accompanied by aggravating circumstances (as the use of threats)
larceny by trick
: larceny of property obtained by the use of misrepresentation especially in getting an owner to hand over something in the belief that it is for temporary purposes — compare false pretenses
larceny from the person
: larceny of property held by or within the immediate control of its owner
petit larceny \ ˈpe-​tē-​ \
: larceny of property having a market value below an amount fixed by law

called also petty larceny

Note: Petit larceny is a misdemeanor.

History and Etymology for larceny

modification of Anglo-French larcine theft, from Old French larrecin, from Latin latrocinium robbery, from latron- latro mercenary soldier, brigand

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