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[dih-ling-kwuh n-see]
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noun, plural de·lin·quen·cies.
  1. failure in or neglect of duty or obligation; dereliction; default: delinquency in payment of dues.
  2. wrongful, illegal, or antisocial behavior.Compare juvenile delinquency.
  3. any misdeed, offense, or misdemeanor.
  4. something, as a debt, that is past due or otherwise delinquent.
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Origin of delinquency

1630–40; < Late Latin dēlinquentia fault, crime, equivalent to Latin dēlinquent- (stem of dēlinquēns, present participle of dēlinquere to do wrong, equivalent to dē- de- + linquere to leave) + -ia noun suffix; see -ency
Related formspre·de·lin·quen·cy, noun, plural pre·de·lin·quen·cies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for delinquency


noun plural -cies
  1. an offence or misdeed, usually of a minor nature, esp one committed by a young personSee juvenile delinquency
  2. failure or negligence in duty or obligation; dereliction
  3. a delinquent nature or delinquent behaviour
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Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin dēlinquentia a fault, offence, from Latin dēlinquere to transgress, from de- + linquere to forsake
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 delinquency


1630s, from Latin delinquentia "fault, crime, delinquency," from delinquentem (see delinquent).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper