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capital offense

capital offense in Culture

capital offense definition

A crime, such as murder or betrayal of one's country, that is treated so seriously that death may be considered an appropriate punishment.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Examples from the Web for capital offense
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Historical Examples
  • Early in the fourteenth century a law was passed making it a capital offense to burn coal within the precincts of London.

    Library Notes A. P. Russell
  • We shall remain free, never to be proven guilty of the one capital offense against freedom, a lack of stanch faith.

  • A mind-probe is utterly illegal; why, it's a capital offense!

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • He thanked God that it had not as yet become a "capital offense to give him a morsel of bread."

  • By the laws of the Republic, for a Frenchman to serve against France was a capital offense.

  • So they took the critics out and drowned them, and then passed a short act, making criticism a capital offense.

    Dreams Jerome K. Jerome
  • No trial for a capital offense was ever allowed to begin on the day preceding the Sabbath.

    The Christ John Eleazer Remsburg
  • Dales code declared absence from Sunday services a capital offense.

    The Colonial Cavalier Maud Wilder Goodwin
  • A decree was issued making it a capital offense to harbor missionaries of any garb.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921 Thomas J. Campbell

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