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corpus delicti

[kawr-puh s di-lik-tahy]
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noun, plural cor·po·ra de·lic·ti [kawr-per-uh di-lik-tahy] /ˈkɔr pər ə dɪˈlɪk taɪ/. Law.
  1. the basic element or elements of a crime, as, in murder, the death of the murdered person; the body of facts or evidence showing that a crime has been committed.
  2. the object, as the body of a murdered person, upon which a crime has been committed and that serves as evidence proving that the crime was committed.

Origin of corpus delicti

1825–35; < New Latin: “body of the offense”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for corpus delicti

corpus delicti

noun
  1. law the body of facts that constitute an offence

Word Origin

New Latin, literally: the body of the crime
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for corpus delicti

1832, Latin, literally "body of the offense;" not "the murder victim's body," but the basic elements that make up a crime; in the case of a murder, including the body of the murdered person.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper