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[krahym] /kraɪm/
an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
criminal activity and those engaged in it:
to fight crime.
the habitual or frequent commission of crimes:
a life of crime.
any offense, serious wrongdoing, or sin.
a foolish, senseless, or shameful act:
It's a crime to let that beautiful garden go to ruin.
1200-50; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin crīmin- (stem of crīmen) charge, crime
Related forms
crimeless, adjective
crimelessness, noun
anticrime, adjective
supercrime, noun
1. wrong; misdemeanor, tort, felony. 1, 4. Crime, offense, sin agree in meaning a breaking of law. Crime usually means any serious violation of human laws: the crime of treason or robbery. Offense is used of an infraction of either human or divine law, and does not necessarily mean a serious one: an offense leading to a jail sentence; an offense against morals. Sin means a breaking of moral or divine law: the sins of greed and lust. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for crimes
  • There have been many violent crimes committed against the homeless.
  • After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.
  • As the use of computers increased, so had software and cyber crimes.
  • Violent crimes are recorded as far below the national average.
  • Housebreaking when combined with other crimes is considered acquisitive crime.
  • However, these are not effective responses to crimes committed by outsiders.
  • Furthermore, this relationship was found to be strongest with respect to economic crimes.
  • Others, like cowardice, desertion, and insubordination are purely military crimes.
British Dictionary definitions for crimes


an act or omission prohibited and punished by law
  1. unlawful acts in general: a wave of crime
  2. (as modifier): crime wave
an evil act
(informal) something to be regretted: it is a crime that he died young
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Latin crīmen verdict, accusation, crime
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crimes



mid-13c., "sinfulness," from Old French crimne (12c., Modern French crime), from Latin crimen (genitive criminis) "charge, indictment, accusation; crime, fault, offense," perhaps from cernere "to decide, to sift" (see crisis). But Klein (citing Brugmann) rejects this and suggests *cri-men, which originally would have been "cry of distress" (Tucker also suggests a root in "cry" words and refers to English plaint, plaintiff, etc.). Meaning "offense punishable by law" is from late 14c. The Latin word is glossed in Old English by facen, also "deceit, fraud, treachery." Crime wave first attested 1893, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for crimes


Related Terms

copycat crime

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for crimes


three classifications of criminal offense that are central to the administration of justice in many Roman- and civil-law countries (for distinctions in Anglo-American law covering analogous offenses, see felony and misdemeanour). Crimes in French law are the most serious offenses, punishable by death or prolonged imprisonment. A delit is any offense punishable by a short prison sentence, usually from one to five years, or a fine. Contraventions are minor offenses.

Learn more about crime with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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