noun, plural lar·ce·nies. Law.

the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another from his or her possession with intent to convert them to the taker's own use.

Origin of larceny

1425–75; late Middle English < Anglo-French larcin theft (< Latin latrōcinium robbery, equivalent to latrōcin(ārī) to rob, orig. serve as mercenary soldier (derivative of latrō hired soldier, robber) + -ium -ium) + -y3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for larceny

Historical Examples of larceny

  • The father and mother looked as if they had been convicted of larceny.

  • If an attempt to steal results in carrying off the owner's goods, it is larceny.

    The Common Law

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • Removing hats is larceny, and you'll get six months for it.'

    The Magic Pudding

    Norman Lindsay

  • But I am sure Victor de Mauleon was not the man to commit a larceny.

    The Parisians, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • Wen we got to the stashun he preferred a charge of larceny gainst me.

    The Bad Boy At Home

    Walter T. Gray

British Dictionary definitions for larceny


noun plural -nies

law (formerly) a technical word for theft
Derived Formslarcenist or larcener, nounlarcenous, adjectivelarcenously, adverb

Word Origin for larceny

C15: from Old French larcin, from Latin lātrocinium robbery, from latrō robber
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 larceny

late 15c., with -y (3) + Anglo-French larcin (late 13c.), from Old French larrecin, larcin "theft, robbery" (11c.), from Latin latrocinium "robbery, freebooting, highway-robbery, piracy," from latro "robber, bandit," also "hireling, mercenary," ultimately from a Greek source akin to latron "pay, hire, wages," from a suffixed form of PIE root *le- "to get."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

larceny in Culture



Theft; taking another person's property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner.

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.