Definition of crime in English:



  • 1An action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law.

    ‘shoplifting was a serious crime’
    • ‘Judge Malherbe ruled that the action of the two soldiers did not constitute a crime.’
    • ‘Capital punishment for such crimes might make criminals more wary of carrying guns and knives.’
    • ‘He said the order had turned the offence of being drunk and disorderly into a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.’
    • ‘One cannot just walk away from the scene of the crime without admitting wrongdoing.’
    • ‘Its perpetrators must be punished because crimes unpunished generate more criminals.’
    • ‘A world virtually without murder and serious crimes, wouldn't that be something?’
    • ‘Logic is turned upside down and instead of being punished for their crimes of omission they reap their due reward.’
    • ‘It doesn't even have to involve physical contact and is a crime punishable summarily by up to six months in prison.’
    • ‘Next the jury has to consider causation and then whether the breach was gross enough to constitute a crime.’
    • ‘That a woman could be the perpetrator of such crimes even as an accomplice was almost too horrible to believe.’
    • ‘That does not apply just to terrorist offences but also to other serious crimes.’
    • ‘Assaults and related offences are treated as serious crimes, which attract substantial penalties.’
    • ‘These try all but the most serious crimes, such as murder and rape.’
    • ‘Preliminary inquires into rapes, murders and other serious crimes were canceled.’
    • ‘The crimes include shoplifting, assault, public order offences, theft and criminal damage.’
    • ‘Conspiracies should only be criminal if the conduct agreed upon constitutes a crime when done by one person.’
    • ‘Is there then a disproportionate growth in the crime of theft as opposed to more serious crimes?’
    • ‘Her alleged crimes are punishable by up to three years in prison and fines of up to €100,000.’
    • ‘Officers were also becoming increasingly worried that crimes and serious injuries were not being reported.’
    • ‘These people will think twice about rape, murder and other serious crimes if death is an alternative.’
    offence, unlawful act, illegal act, breach of the law, infraction of the law, violation of the law, misdemeanour, misdeed, wrong, felony, violation, transgression, fault, injury
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun Illegal activities.
      ‘the victims of crime’
      • ‘People were most worried about house burglary, car crime, drugs, alcohol and robbery.’
      • ‘But nor have I ever felt safer as a result of them or believed they were stopping crime or terrorism.’
      • ‘They cannot be expected to be present while every act of crime or vandalism is being perpetrated.’
      • ‘Crimes such as vandalism, car crime and burglary are an everyday occurrence in Swindon.’
      • ‘This is a long, long way from ensuring that the victims of crime are compensated.’
      • ‘The reductions we've made in house burglary, in car crime and robbery over the last year are excellent.’
      • ‘The arrests should be for offences such as burglary, robbery, car crime or vandalism, he said.’
      • ‘It also identifies the number of days of illegal activity by type of crime.’
      • ‘What of course everyone agrees with is that drug dealing and organised crime should be illegal.’
      • ‘And surely you agree that crime and illegal immigration are getting out of hand.’
      • ‘The idea that only a black man can treat black criminals and victims of crime fairly is absurd and offensive.’
      • ‘Sutton Council is in a state of denial with regard to crime and vandalism.’
      • ‘This can easily rear its head here in drug gangs and petty crime like vandalism without any encouragement.’
      • ‘How would she suggest that we deal with current issues like vandalism and street crime?’
      • ‘Shoplifting and other business crime will continue to be dealt with other uniformed area officers.’
      • ‘The designers of the new building are also hoping to minimise the potential for vandalism and other crime.’
      • ‘The law and the courts and the political elite are biased in favour of the criminal rather than the victim of crime.’
      • ‘It is important that we work to break the cycle that can trap people in crime, both as victims and perpetrators.’
      • ‘Once again it is the vulnerable who are the victims of crime while far too often the perpetrators escape justice.’
      • ‘Some submitters also spoke of the need for the Government to do more to assist the victims of crime.’
      lawbreaking, delinquency, wrongdoing, transgression, misconduct, criminality, illegality, villainy, felony, corruption
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An action or activity considered to be evil, shameful, or wrong.
      ‘they condemned apartheid as a crime against humanity’
      ‘it's a crime to keep a creature like Willy in a tank’
      • ‘This is certainly a crime against humanity aimed at earning money at the cost of public health.’
      • ‘For the council to accept such a liability is a crime against the tax payers of Swindon.’
      • ‘Surely he's not going to make out that this show is anything less than a crime against humanity?’
      • ‘If as you report it was due to inability to pay, then this ranks as a crime against humanity.’
      • ‘High treason was a crime against the state which meant, in practice, against the monarch.’
      • ‘To deprive a Muslim child of their culture and language is a crime against humanity.’
      • ‘It is a crime against these boxers' humanity that they are allowed to continue in this most dangerous trade.’
      • ‘The deliberate targeting of civilians is a crime against humanity, full stop.’
      • ‘We hold it to be a crime against man and God to submit any longer to the rule that has caused this disaster to our country.’
      • ‘For anyone to deprive them of a penny of their legal entitlement is a crime against society.’
      • ‘Any activity that takes away these rights is a crime against nature and humanity.’
      • ‘First, it specifies that a crime against humanity must be committed with knowledge of the attack.’
      • ‘It was a national disgrace and a crime, and the responsibility for it reaches to the highest level.’
      • ‘This was not just a crime against one nation, but against the very notion of decency itself.’
      • ‘To undermine football as happens in certain countries is a deception and a crime against society.’
      • ‘Here was a man who many people were concerned about but who had never been convicted of a crime against children.’
      • ‘What we need is a multilateral regime that makes it clear that this is a crime against all humanity.’
      • ‘As I said it was a crime against humanity so that is what he deserved and that is what the rest of them deserve.’
      • ‘They have committed a huge crime against humanity, and now they are killing the witnesses.’
      • ‘Everything reinforces the notion that this is a uniquely devastating and shameful crime.’
      immoral act, sin, evil, evil action, wrong, wrongdoing, atrocity, abomination, enormity, disgrace, outrage, monstrosity, violation, abuse, injustice, affront
      View synonyms


[with object]British
  • (especially in the army) charge with or find guilty of an offence.

    ‘they found the note and I got crimed for it’
    • ‘‘Once, when a rookie, I was crimed at the Tower for paradin’ with a button missin ’.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘wickedness, sin’): via Old French from Latin crimen ‘judgement, offence’, based on cernere ‘to judge’.