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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for larceny


robbery, stealing, theft, thievery

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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 Crystelle Yvette Baton was charged with larceny grand theft on Monday. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Clerk tells lottery winner his prize is only $5. She picked the wrong man to scam, cops say.," 24 Jan. 2018 An Elizabeth City Police Department statement says he's charged with felonies including breaking and entering and larceny. CBS News, "Winner of donut-eating contest caught stealing from Dunkin' Donuts, cops say," 21 Jan. 2018 Piazza was also charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, operating to endanger, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and several other minor motor vehicle charges, police said. Lucas Phillips,, "Woman arrested for Nahant carjacking," 7 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about larceny

Dictionary Entries near larceny







larch canker

Statistics for larceny

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for larceny

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for larceny



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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!