decriminalize

[ dee-krim-uh-nl-ahyz ]
/ diˈkrɪm ə nlˌaɪz /

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.

Nearby words

  1. decretive,
  2. decretory,
  3. decretum,
  4. decrial,
  5. decriminalization,
  6. decrudescence,
  7. decry,
  8. decrypt,
  9. decubital,
  10. decubitus

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

Origin of decriminalize

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

Related formsde·crim·i·nal·i·za·tion, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decriminalize



British Dictionary definitions for decriminalize

decriminalize

decriminalise

/ (diːˈkrɪmənəˌlaɪz) /

verb

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

Word Origin and History for decriminalize

decriminalize

v.

1963, "to reform a criminal," back-formation from decriminalization. Meaning "to make legal something that formerly had been illegal" was in use by 1970 (there are isolated instances back to 1867). Related: Decriminalized; decriminalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper