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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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

Crime in San Francisco Property crime includes burglary, motor vehicle theft and larcenies such as pickpocketing and shoplifting. Phil Matier,, "SF ranks high in property crime while it ranks low in arrests," 15 Sep. 2019 Whitt has been behind bars since 1999, serving a sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to six counts of armed bank larceny. Chris Harris,, "Dad Charged in 1998 Murder of Boy Found Dead Under Billboard Is Now Suspected In Wife's Murder," 13 Aug. 2019 The eldest suspect was slapped with multiple charges, including breaking and entering, and larceny. Gerren Keith Gaynor, Fox News, "6-year-old among 4 suspects in theft of handguns, police say," 23 July 2019 Finally, on May 15, he was found and charged with communicating threats, assault on a female, simple assault, injury to personal property and felony larceny. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "Honduras native arrested in Charlotte, charged with illegally reentering the US," 4 June 2019 Last-hurrah types try their hand at writing a symphony or building a school in some far-flung place—or, if their life-long occupation has been in the larceny trade, uniting a few fellow felons to pull off a really big heist. Dave Shiflett, WSJ, "‘The Last Job’ Review: Once More Into the Vault," 18 Apr. 2019 He was charged with grand larceny, burglary, entering a vehicle to commit a crime, two counts of forgery and two counts of credit card larceny. Lisa M. Bolton, Washington Post, "Prince William County," 21 Aug. 2019 At the Lu-Rae, there was one report of an assault and one of larceny during that period. Martin E. Comas,, "Casselberry, popular with mom-and-pop motels before I-4 and Disney, looks at regulations to attract new hotels," 12 Sep. 2019 Less than two months ago, on July 16, inspectors from the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney arrested Baker on a second-degree larceny charge. Emily Brindley,, "Former Farmington VFW post commander charged with stealing, selling guns from post," 3 Sep. 2019

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

21 Oct 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 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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