lar·ce·ny | \ˈlär-snē, 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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Synonyms for larceny


robbery, stealing, theft, thievery

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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

The most common crimes last year were larceny, which went from 661 to 582, a 12 percent drop, and common assault, which fell from 481 to 421, also a 12 percent decline. Jeff Barker, Washington Post, "As revenue slides, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore buys up nearby land to secure its future," 4 Apr. 2018 De La Rosa was handed over to ICE on March 11 by law enforcement in Wake County, North Carolina, after a March 9 felony conviction for larceny. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "ICE: Immigration detainee dead in apparent suicide," 12 July 2018 The man was arrested for theft and taken to jail, where it was discovered that he was wanted on a South Euclid warrant for failure to appear in court on a larceny charge. Jane Morice,, "Cleveland Heights police search for missing teenage boy," 11 Feb. 2018 Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27, was also in immigration removal proceedings following a January conviction for felony larceny of a motor vehicle, ICE said at the time. Phil Helsel /, NBC News, "Mexican man dies in suspected suicide while held in ICE custody," 13 July 2018 Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Kristi Nix, Houston Chronicle, "Sugar Land crime rate falls to record low," 12 Mar. 2018 James Mote, 48, was arrested on charges of carjacking, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree larceny and breach of peace. Jesse Leavenworth,, "East Hartford Police Say Knife-Wielding Robber Caught In Hartford," 12 July 2018 According to the Suffolk District Attorney’s office, in 2009 Mikula pleaded guilty to charges of identity fraud and larceny and received a two-year sentence to the house of correction. Jerome Campbell,, "East Boston man ordered held on $200,000 bail on explosive charges after apartment blast," 9 July 2018 Romell Mackey was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon and vehicle larceny, Mecklenburg County jail records show. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Arrest made in robbery and beating of 63-year-old Charlotte ice cream cart vendor," 7 July 2018

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

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

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Dictionary Entries near larceny







larch canker

Statistics for larceny

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for larceny

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

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English Language Learners Definition of larceny

law : the act of stealing something


lar·ce·ny | \ˈlär-sə-nē \
plural larcenies

Kids Definition of larceny

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


lar·ce·ny | \ˈlär-sə-nē \
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.

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Comments on larceny

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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