Definition of felony in English:

felony

noun

  • A crime regarded in the US and many other judicial systems as more serious than a misdemeanour.

    ‘he pleaded guilty to six felonies’
    mass noun ‘an accusation of felony’
    • ‘California requires DNA sampling only from those convicted for violent felonies and some sex crimes.’
    • ‘One fan will be charged with a felony assault charge for accusations of throwing a chair.’
    • ‘If convicted on the felony charge, he could lose his right to work in the United States.’
    • ‘Dealing with felonies, including rape, murder, and assault, often fell to the citizens who witnessed them.’
    • ‘Some of these crimes are misdemeanors; others are felonies of various degrees.’
    • ‘If convicted of the felony charge, the woman could face up to five years in jail.’
    • ‘The 39-year-old singer was booked on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon late on Friday.’
    • ‘Now the choice is go to trial on a felony assault charge and hope for an acquittal or plead guilty to a misdemeanor.’
    • ‘If convicted of the felony charges they could face up to five years in jail.’
    • ‘The total number of sustained felonies, misdemeanors, and probation violations was computed.’
    • ‘What's the difference between felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions?’
    • ‘In the US, the vast majority of murders and other felonies are state crimes.’
    • ‘Using a destructive device in a violent crime is a federal felony that carries a mandatory minimum of 30 years in jail.’
    • ‘That charge could be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.’
    • ‘In the great majority of cases in which death ensues as a result of a tort felony has been committed.’
    • ‘Well, in this case, under a felony murder charge, she would be guilty and a jury has found her guilty.’
    • ‘So your Honour can see that there was no act done in the course of a different felony which you would need for a felony murder situation.’
    • ‘And the schedule is there, so your Honours can see how the felonies and misdemeanours were changed.’
    • ‘The principal felonies were homicide, rape, theft, burglary, robbery and arson.’
    • ‘There is a considerable historical literature that explores changes in the process of prosecuting both felonies and misdemeanors in England.’
    crime, lawbreaking, lawlessness, criminality, misconduct, malpractice, corruption, unethical behaviour, immorality, sin, sinfulness, wickedness, badness, evil, vice, iniquity, villainy, delinquency, misbehaviour, mischief, naughtiness
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In the US the distinction between felonies and misdemeanours usually depends on the penalties or consequences attaching to the crime. In English law felony originally comprised those offences (murder, wounding, arson, rape, and robbery) for which the penalty included forfeiture of land and goods. Forfeiture was abolished in 1870, and in 1967 felonies and misdemeanours were replaced by indictable and non-indictable offences

Origin

Middle English: from Old French felonie, from felon (see felon).

Pronunciation

felony

/ˈfɛləni/