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

Chief Delatorre said thieves with lengthy arrest histories in the transit system committed many of the larcenies in the system in 2018. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "Serial Pickpockets to Blame for Bump in New York City Subway Crime, Police Say," 5 Jan. 2019 The pair also reached deals to raise the state’s felony larceny threshold, increase requirements that felons repay their victims and to cut some regulations. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "How a reshaped Virginia legislature learned to love Medicaid expansion," 4 June 2018 In June, one of the NYPD’s analysts, 40-year-old Kendall Perez, noticed five larceny investigations involving vehicles in Queens. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "NYPD Number-Crunchers Fight Crime With Spreadsheets," 23 July 2018 Newling has been arrested and charged with larceny and is scheduled to appear in court again in November. Fox News, "Arrest warrant issued for NASCAR's Jordan Anderson on stolen car charge," 27 Sep. 2018 Lavarchio Allen, a 35-year-old inmate, died last week after he was arrested for breaking-and-entering and larceny charges. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "A Mecklenburg County inmate died. It’s the jail’s fourth death in two months.," 12 July 2018 Image Ashley McSween, 32, who is being held on larceny charges, asked about how best to help women inmates who are addicted to opioids re-enter society. New York Times, "Inmates Question Prospective Prosecutors in Jailhouse Campaign Debate," 26 June 2018 Last May, he was arrested and charged with larceny grand theft and battery after a dispute with his girlfriend over a cellphone. Jeff Zrebiec,, "Former Ravens first-round pick Matt Elam will reportedly get look from New Orleans Saints," 10 May 2018 Crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. Julie A. Short/special To,, "Egg hunts, breakfasts highlight Easter events: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 26 Feb. 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

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Dictionary Entries near larceny







larch canker

Statistics for larceny

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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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.

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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Comments on larceny

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