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.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
larceny (ˈlɑːsɪnɪ)
n , pl -nies
law (formerly) a technical word for theft
[C15: from Old French larcin, from Latin lātrocinium robbery, from latrō robber]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., from Anglo-Fr. larcin (late 13c.), from O.Fr. larrecin "theft," from L. latrocinium "robbery," from latro (gen. latronis) "robber, bandit," also "hireling, mercenary," ult. from Gk. latron "pay, hire, wages." The former distinction between grand and petty larceny was of property valued at more
than, or less than, 12 pence.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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 Britannica


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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Example sentences
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.
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