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felony

[fel-uh-nee]
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noun, plural fel·o·nies. Law.
  1. an offense, as murder or burglary, of graver character than those called misdemeanors, especially those commonly punished in the U.S. by imprisonment for more than a year.
  2. Early English Law. any crime punishable by death or mutilation and forfeiture of lands and goods.
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Origin of felony

1250–1300; Middle English felonie < Anglo-French, Old French: villainy, a felony. See felon1, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for felony

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Ten of the men were apprehended for the felony, and eight of them were executed.

    Self-Help

    Samuel Smiles

  • "You talk of forgery and penalties as if we were about to commit a felony," said Linton, laughing.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • I should have to clear myself of felony, to strain every nerve and cheat the gallows.

    Romance

    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • It was compounding a felony, but my client was satisfied and Roger was grateful.

    'Charge It'

    Irving Bacheller

  • "Please compound a felony," he said softly—and slipped it into his pocket.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming


British Dictionary definitions for felony

felony

noun plural -nies
  1. (formerly) a serious crime, such as murder or arson. All distinctions between felony and misdemeanour were abolished in England and Wales in 1967
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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 felony

n.

late 13c. as a term in common law, in Anglo-French, from Old French felonie (12c.) "wickedness, evil, treachery, perfidy, crime, cruelty, sin," from Gallo-Romance *fellonia, from fellonem (see felon).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

felony in Culture

felony

[(fel-uh-nee)]

A grave crime, such as murder, rape, or burglary, that is punishable by death (see capital offense) or imprisonment in a state or federal facility.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.