Definition of larceny in English:



mass noun
  • Theft of personal property. In English law larceny was replaced as a statutory crime by theft in 1968.

    • ‘Judicially speaking, injury and larceny are both crimes against the State, but in these criminal categories it is possible to identify particular victims.’
    • ‘Children and adolescents disrupted public order by committing petty thefts and larceny, not by becoming drunk and disorderly.’
    • ‘For example, the old case management system had separate incident categories for burglary, larceny, fraud and robbery.’
    • ‘The remainder are mainly serving sentences of between six and 24 months for petty crimes; mostly larceny, shoplifting and prostitution.’
    • ‘The most common offences included larceny, burglary, malicious damage, criminal damage and a host of motoring offences.’
    • ‘It is also important to note that the majority of juveniles get arrested for property crimes, such as burglary and larceny, rather than for violent acts.’
    • ‘The most prevalent property crimes are larceny, theft, burglary, and robbery.’
    • ‘The most common crimes on campus today are burglary and larceny - not violent crimes.’
    • ‘Crimes leading to imprisonment included prostitution, drug use, larceny, robbery, parole violation, and extortion.’
    • ‘Of course, a few social faux pas are better than grand theft larceny!’
    • ‘Even the media have stopped reporting incidents of robbery, rape, larceny, car theft and other ‘minor’ crimes.’
    • ‘Most major crimes, and the crimes most important in popular culture, are those of burglary, theft, larceny, and corruption.’
    • ‘An indictment of Carol for larceny would therefore be properly subject to dismissal as unconstitutionally vague as applied to her case.’
    • ‘Petty theft and larceny are caused by poverty and frequent shortages of consumer goods, but violence is rare.’
    • ‘Twenty-nine others were arrested for outstanding warrants on charges of burglary, larceny and malicious wounding.’
    • ‘After all, claim of right developed in relation to the law of larceny and where one was taking something physically that you believed belonged to you.’
    • ‘In essence, he's a ‘love me, love my dog’ kind of guy, with the pooch in question being larceny and theft.’
    • ‘Drug use is a factor in the lives of people before incarceration and may be an instrumental reason why crimes such as theft, larceny, and forgery are committed.’
    • ‘A concurrent effect to this drop in violent crime occurs in the form of an increase in some levels of property crimes, including larceny and auto theft.’
    • ‘Robbery, theft and larceny are rampant; rape, wounding and shooting are on the rise; and murder and kidnappings appear out of control.’
    theft, stealing, robbery, pilfering, thieving, thievery, purloining
    View synonyms


Late 15th century: from Old French larcin, from Latin latrocinium, from latro(n-) ‘robber’, earlier ‘mercenary soldier’, from Greek latreus.