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 First-degree larceny is a Class B felony punishable by 1-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Christine Dempsey,, "South Windsor police: Woman stole from local moms club," 15 Nov. 2019 Ferndale Police starting using the app in mid-September and put out a request for information about a rash of larcenies from several dozen unlocked vehicles. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "'It's the Neighborhood Watch of 2020,' police say as doorbell cams proliferate," 29 Oct. 2019 There’s even a misdemeanor fourth-degree theft, so Blakely is one of the legendary few who actually hit for the larceny cycle. John Archibald |, al, "Children know what this sheriff doesn’t," 25 Oct. 2019 Law enforcement and immigration records show he was convicted of breaking and entering and larceny for a string of car break-ins. Melanie Hicken, CNN, "'Secret and unaccountable': Where some immigrant teens are being taken by ICE," 24 Oct. 2019 Across the Southeast District, police data shows larceny is down 8% while burglaries are up 4% this year compared with the same time last year. Jessica Anderson,, "Smile, they’re watching. Baltimore neighborhood group uses technology, vigilance to get criminals on tape.," 21 Oct. 2019 Leo Vincent Chaisson, 25, was arrested at 1 p.m. and will be charged with unarmed burglary and larceny for the alleged breaking and entering into a home on Hunting Street, according to a statement from police. Shafaq Patel,, "Cambridge police arrest suspect in home burglary," 31 Aug. 2019 That bakery crime came after Kennard had previously broken into a vacant service station, leading him to plead guilty to three felony counts of burglary and larceny in 1979. David K. Li, NBC News, "Alabama man spent 36 years behind bars after stealing $50. He is about to go free.," 30 Aug. 2019 Developer Jason Julian, 49, was arrested Tuesday and charged with similar larceny and forgery charges and with paying kickbacks, among other things, police said. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Police: Fairfield public works supervisors, developer, arrested in hazardous waste dumping scheme," 7 Aug. 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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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

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Larceny.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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