[ krahym ]
/ kraɪm /
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See synonyms for: crime / crimes / crimeless on Thesaurus.com

an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited.
criminal activity and those engaged in it: to fight crime.
the habitual or frequent commission of crimes: a life of crime.
any offense, serious wrongdoing, or sin.
a foolish, senseless, or shameful act: It's a crime to let that beautiful garden go to ruin.
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Origin of crime

1200–50; Middle English <Anglo-French, Old French <Latin crīmin- (stem of crīmen) charge, crime

synonym study for crime

1, 4. Crime, offense, sin agree in meaning a breaking of law. Crime usually means any serious violation of human laws: the crime of treason or robbery. Offense is used of an infraction of either human or divine law, and does not necessarily mean a serious one: an offense leading to a jail sentence; an offense against morals. Sin means a breaking of moral or divine law: the sins of greed and lust.


crimeless, adjectivecrime·less·ness, nounan·ti·crime, adjectivesu·per·crime, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a crime?

A crime is an act or instance that is considered to be against the morals or laws of society, as in Burglary and grand theft auto are crimes.

A person could also be said to have committed a crime against nature or a crime against humanity if they performed especially offensive or taboo acts.

A crime can also mean illegal activity in general or a frequent committing of such activity, as in The superhero was dedicated to fighting crime.

Crime can also mean a repeated or frequent performing of illegal acts, as in The mobsters lived a life of crime. 

And crime can be used more generally to refer to any offense or sin, as in The man swore his neighbor would pay for his crime of letting his dogs waltz through his yard. 

Informally, crime can be used to mean a regrettable thing, as in It is a crime that the musician died so young. 

The word criminal can be used to mean both a person who commits crime as well as an adjective for things related to crime.

Example: Publishing someone’s words as your own is a crime.

Where does crime come from?

The first records of crime come from around 1200. It ultimately comes from the Latin crīmin-, a stem of crīmen, which means “charge” or “crime.” Crime was as much a problem for the ancient Romans as it is for us today.

Crime exists in every society and probably goes back to primitive humans. It is almost always the job of a justice system to prevent crime or punish those responsible for it. Today, in many societies people who commit crimes are fined, imprisoned, or given even harsher punishments.

There is a lot of debate about the best way to handle crime. In popular culture, it’s common to depict societies that have no crime, such as through the use of technology or harsh methods.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to crime?

  • crimeless (adjective)
  • crimelessness (noun)
  • anticrime (adjective)
  • supercrime (noun)

What are some synonyms for crime?

What are some words that share a root or word element with crime

What are some words that often get used in discussing crime?

How is crime used in real life?

While the vast majority of people are against crime, people often disagree on what should or shouldn’t be considered a crime.

Try using crime!

Which of the following is a synonym of crime?

A. justice
B. accident
C. felony
D. carelessness

How to use crime in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for crime

/ (kraɪm) /

an act or omission prohibited and punished by law
  1. unlawful acts in generala wave of crime
  2. (as modifier)crime wave
an evil act
informal something to be regrettedit is a crime that he died young

Word Origin for crime

C14: from Old French, from Latin crīmen verdict, accusation, 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