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[lahr-suh-nee] /ˈlɑr sə ni/
noun, plural larcenies. Law.
the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another from his or her possession with intent to convert them to the taker's own use.
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Anglo-French larcin theft (< Latin latrōcinium robbery, equivalent to latrōcin(ārī) to rob, orig. serve as mercenary soldier (derivative of latrō hired soldier, robber) + -ium -ium) + -y3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for larceny
  • Previous charges included felony-level weapons offenses and grand larceny, and misdemeanor drug crimes.
  • His trial for larceny was scheduled for the summer after graduation.
British Dictionary definitions for larceny


noun (pl) -nies
(law) (formerly) a technical word for theft
Derived Forms
larcenist, larcener, noun
larcenous, adjective
larcenously, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Old French larcin, from Latin lātrocinium robbery, from latrō robber
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 larceny

late 15c., with -y (3) + Anglo-French larcin (late 13c.), from Old French larrecin, larcin "theft, robbery" (11c.), from Latin latrocinium "robbery, freebooting, highway-robbery, piracy," from latro "robber, bandit," also "hireling, mercenary," ultimately from a Greek source akin to latron "pay, hire, wages," from a suffixed form of PIE root *le- "to get."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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larceny in Culture
larceny [(lahr-suh-nee)]

Theft; taking another person's property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner.

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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Encyclopedia Article for larceny

in criminal law, the trespassory taking and carrying away of personal goods from the possession of another with intent to steal. Larceny is one of the specific crimes included in the general category of theft (q.v.).

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