Definition of criminalize in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Turn (an activity) into a criminal offense by making it illegal.

    ‘his view is that the state should not criminalize drug use but discourage it’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It would be unfair to use spring traps to criminalize activities that are traditionally considered lawful.’
    • ‘He bristles at Britain's law, which criminalizes association with suspected terrorist groups even if no other crime has been committed.’
    • ‘Slovenia may pass a law criminalizing sexual harassment this spring.’
    • ‘In 1997, New York State passed a law criminalizing the sale or possession of ketamine.’
    • ‘It is increasingly clear that the only viable way to treat drug offences is to criminalise them.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘We are criminalizing way too much in my judgment.’
    • ‘For good reason, Congress has never adopted a law to criminalize leaks of government information.’
    • ‘‘Our existing law already criminalises much activity that could fall within that description of giving and receiving terrorist training.’’
    • ‘These officials intended to criminalize the gypsy way of life and deny a group of people their civil rights.’
    • ‘Thus, laws criminalizing acts like adultery, spousal or parental abandonment, bastardy, prostitution, and fornication appeared.’
    • ‘In their view, some of the proposed offences were excessively broad or too vague and could criminalise peaceful activities.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The government's anti-union laws have criminalised essential union activity.’
    • ‘On 1 July there was a protest march against legislation aimed at criminalizing pro-independence activities.’
    1. 1.1 Turn (someone) into a criminal by making their activities illegal.
      ‘these punitive measures would further criminalize travelers for their way of life’
      • ‘Since this document has been put forth, both Canada and Australia (to name a few governments) have criminalised people for exercising this right.’
      • ‘New legislation directed against illegal immigrants also criminalises anyone who aids them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Defending the policy, he said: ‘I agree we don't want to criminalise young people for dropping litter.’
      • ‘His government is using ASBOs to scapegoat and criminalise young people.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This criminalises people who have committed no crime.’
      • ‘They are criminalising people who are the victims of racism.’
      • ‘There's a tendency to be defeatist, to label and criminalise young people.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘She said, ‘We should not use language that criminalises any workers as illegal.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It has criminalized these people and their situations, and by incarcerating them they're reinforcing the notion that these people belong behind bars.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Policies like the smacking ban would criminalise law-abiding people, he said.’
      • ‘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.’