Definition of criminalize in English:


(also criminalise)


  • 1 Turn (an activity) into a criminal offence by making it illegal.

    ‘his view is that the state should not criminalize drug use but discourage it’
    • ‘So our conclusion is it cannot necessarily be right to criminalise one activity, which has seemed to work quite well, on the basis that it might be possible to achieve the same result by some other as yet untried method.’
    • ‘Slovenia may pass a law criminalizing sexual harassment this spring.’
    • ‘It would be unfair to use spring traps to criminalize activities that are traditionally considered lawful.’
    • ‘We are criminalizing way too much in my judgment.’
    • ‘Hidden sellers of crack, powder cocaine, and heroin and hidden users of these drugs have rarely been available for behavioral research while pursuing these criminalized activities.’
    • ‘In their view, some of the proposed offences were excessively broad or too vague and could criminalise peaceful activities.’
    • ‘The Reasoned Amendment claims the Bill fails to tackle the ‘inadequacies’ of animal welfare legislation, but would criminalise the activities of tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens.’
    • ‘These officials intended to criminalize the gypsy way of life and deny a group of people their civil rights.’
    • ‘It declares such marriages null and void in general (and may criminalize the sexual activity between the would-be spouses), but it doesn't do anything preventative to stop people from getting married.’
    • ‘The convention criminalises activities, including online child pornography, fraud, and hacking.’
    • ‘She said: ‘If parliament wishes to criminalise any particular activity, it must do so in clear terms.’’
    • ‘In 1997, New York State passed a law criminalizing the sale or possession of ketamine.’
    • ‘He bristles at Britain's law, which criminalizes association with suspected terrorist groups even if no other crime has been committed.’
    • ‘It is increasingly clear that the only viable way to treat drug offences is to criminalise them.’
    • ‘California, New York and Texas have practically criminalized the process by requiring applicants to be fingerprinted, an action that automatically brands them as potential cheaters.’
    • ‘‘Our existing law already criminalises much activity that could fall within that description of giving and receiving terrorist training.’’
    • ‘The government's anti-union laws have criminalised essential union activity.’
    • ‘Thus, laws criminalizing acts like adultery, spousal or parental abandonment, bastardy, prostitution, and fornication appeared.’
    • ‘On 1 July there was a protest march against legislation aimed at criminalizing pro-independence activities.’
    • ‘For good reason, Congress has never adopted a law to criminalize leaks of government information.’
    1. 1.1Turn (someone) into a criminal by making their activities illegal.
      ‘these punitive measures would further criminalize travellers for their way of life’
      • ‘These defences recognise that it is not desirable to criminalise young people for sexual experimentation, despite how we as parents might feel about that activity.’
      • ‘Instead of penalising and criminalising young people, the government might finally implement their own National Youth Work Plan, adopted over 12 months ago and ignored ever since.’
      • ‘Asbos are a punitive measure that can criminalise people for behaviour that is not criminal.’
      • ‘The government should repeal all legislation that criminalises football fans for expressing their passion.’
      • ‘This may be seen as a rationalization of the appellate courts' tendency to stretch the interpretation of statutes so as to criminalize people who, they think, have manifestly committed a serious wrong.’
      • ‘However, another function of inchoate offences is to criminalize those who try and fail, as well as those who are caught before they have the chance to succeed or fail.’
      • ‘His government is using ASBOs to scapegoat and criminalise young people.’
      • ‘It has criminalized these people and their situations, and by incarcerating them they're reinforcing the notion that these people belong behind bars.’
      • ‘Since this document has been put forth, both Canada and Australia (to name a few governments) have criminalised people for exercising this right.’
      • ‘She said, ‘We should not use language that criminalises any workers as illegal.’’
      • ‘‘It's only in the last ten years that they've been seen as gangs - the Bill is criminalising young people,’ he said.’
      • ‘Contradictory pieces of legislation have been put forward in the different chambers of government: one would criminalise illegal immigrants, and another would legalise their status.’
      • ‘There's a tendency to be defeatist, to label and criminalise young people.’
      • ‘Defending the policy, he said: ‘I agree we don't want to criminalise young people for dropping litter.’
      • ‘Policies like the smacking ban would criminalise law-abiding people, he said.’
      • ‘New legislation directed against illegal immigrants also criminalises anyone who aids them.’
      • ‘This criminalises people who have committed no crime.’
      • ‘But a spokesman for the Terrence Higgins Trust warned against rushing to criminalise people with HIV, except in cases where malicious intent was beyond doubt.’
      • ‘They are criminalising people who are the victims of racism.’
      • ‘If we allow this ban to go through unopposed, we are giving the government permission to criminalise people who pursue an activity that most people disapprove of on no better grounds than a peculiarly British snobbery.’