[ dee-krim-uh-nl-ahyz ]
/ diˈkrɪm ə nlˌaɪz /
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verb (used with object), de·crim·i·nal·ized, de·crim·i·nal·iz·ing.

to eliminate criminal penalties for or remove legal restrictions against: to decriminalize marijuana.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Also especially British, de·crim·i·nal·ise .

Origin of decriminalize

An Americanism dating back to 1965–70; de- + criminal + -ize

OTHER WORDS FROM decriminalize

de·crim·i·nal·i·za·tion, noun

Words nearby decriminalize

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for decriminalize

British Dictionary definitions for decriminalize



/ (diːˈkrɪmənəˌlaɪz) /


(tr) to remove (an action) from the legal category of criminal offenceto decriminalize the possession of marijuana

Derived forms of decriminalize

decriminalization or decriminalisation, noun
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