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[fel-uh-nee] /ˈfɛl ə ni/
noun, plural felonies. Law.
an offense, as murder or burglary, of graver character than those called misdemeanors, especially those commonly punished in the U.S. by imprisonment for more than a year.
Early English Law. any crime punishable by death or mutilation and forfeiture of lands and goods.
1250-1300; Middle English felonie < Anglo-French, Old French: villainy, a felony. See felon1, -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for felonies
  • Criminal offenses are considered either felonies or misdemeanors.
  • Drew was charged with three felonies but was ultimately convicted on two lesser misdemeanor counts.
  • On the average, no more than three felonies out of a hundred result in the imprisonment of the offender.
  • Incidents that would be major felonies on the outside often go unreported.
  • All four of the people charged with felonies are from out of town.
  • Other felonies are of the particular degree designated by statute.
  • Credit for good behavior against jail sentence for misdemeanors and certain felonies.
British Dictionary definitions for felonies


noun (pl) -nies
(formerly) a serious crime, such as murder or arson. All distinctions between felony and misdemeanour were abolished in England and Wales in 1967
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 felonies



late 13c. as a term in common law, in Anglo-French, from Old French felonie (12c.) "wickedness, evil, treachery, perfidy, crime, cruelty, sin," from Gallo-Romance *fellonia, from fellonem (see felon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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felonies in Culture
felony [(fel-uh-nee)]

A grave crime, such as murder, rape, or burglary, that is punishable by death (see capital offense) or imprisonment in a state or federal facility.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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