[ fel-uh-nee ]
See synonyms for felony on Thesaurus.com
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.

Origin of felony

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English felonie, from Anglo-French, Old French: “villainy”; equivalent to felon1 + -y3

Words Nearby felony

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use felony in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for felony


/ (ˈfɛlənɪ) /

nounplural -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

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

Cultural definitions for 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.

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.