Definition of crime noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kraɪm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kraɪm//
    Committing crime, Immoral
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  1. 1  [uncountable] activities that involve breaking the law an increase in violent crime the fight against crime Stores spend more and more on crime prevention every year. petty/serious crime the connection between drugs and organized crime He turned to crime when he dropped out of school. The crime rate is rising. crime fiction/novels (= stories about crime) crime figures/statistics She’s a crime writer(= she writes stories about crime). Wordfinderabide by something, court, crime, justice, law, legal, police, prosecute, punish, trial CollocationsCriminal justiceBreaking the law break/​violate/​obey/​uphold the law be investigated/​arrested/​tried for a crime/​a robbery/​fraud be arrested/ (especially North American English) indicted/​convicted on charges of rape/​fraud/(especially US English) felony charges be arrested on suspicion of arson/​robbery/​shoplifting be accused of/​be charged with murder/(especially North American English) homicide/​four counts of fraud face two charges of indecent assault admit your guilt/​liability/​responsibility (for something) deny the allegations/​claims/​charges confess to a crime grant/​be refused/​be released on/​skip/​jump bailThe legal process stand/​await/​bring somebody to/​come to/​be on trial take somebody to/​come to/​settle something out of court face/​avoid/​escape prosecution seek/​retain/​have the right to/​be denied access to legal counsel hold/​conduct/​attend/​adjourn a hearing/​trial sit on/​influence/​persuade/​convince the jury sit/​stand/​appear/​be put/​place somebody in the dock plead guilty/​not guilty to a crime be called to/​enter (British English) the witness box take/​put somebody on the stand/(North American English) the witness stand call/​subpoena/​question/​cross-examine a witness give/​hear the evidence against/​on behalf of somebody raise/​withdraw/​overrule an objection reach a unanimous/​majority verdict return/​deliver/​record a verdict of not guilty/​unlawful killing/​accidental death convict/​acquit the defendant of the crime secure a conviction/​your acquittal lodge/​file an appeal appeal (against)/challenge/​uphold/​overturn a conviction/​verdictSentencing and punishment pass sentence on somebody carry/​face/​serve a seven-year/​life sentence receive/​be given the death penalty be sentenced to ten years (in prison/​jail) carry/​impose/​pay a fine (of $3 000)/a penalty (of 14 years imprisonment) be imprisoned/​jailed for drug possession/​fraud/​murder do/​serve time/​ten years be sent to/​put somebody in/​be released from jail/​prison be/​put somebody/​spend X years on death row be granted/​be denied/​break (your) parole CulturepunishmentPunishment for people who break the law is decided in a court of law. In the US federal, state and local governments each have their own systems of law and of punishment. The Constitution forbids ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, but it is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to decide whether a punishment is ‘cruel and unusual’. In Britain, the Scottish legal system is different from that in England and Wales, but methods of punishment are similar throughout Britain.When an accused person is found guilty of a crime, the judge decides what punishment they should suffer. In both Britain and the US the least serious offences are punished by fines (= financial payments) which must be paid to the court. Fines or fixed penalties (= fines at a level decided in advance) are often imposed for minor traffic offences such as parking illegally and can be paid without the need to go to court.If a fine is not considered adequate, a person may be sentenced to do community service (= work without pay in hospitals, homes for old people, etc.) or be put on probation (= required to have regular meetings with a social worker over a set period). When the crime committed is more serious, the convicted person (= person found guilty) is likely to be given a prison sentence. If it is their first offence (= the first time a person has broken the law) the sentence may be suspended (= only carried out if the person is found guilty of another crime) and the person is allowed to remain free on a conditional discharge.If a person is given a prison sentence its length depends on how serious their crime is and on their past record (= the number of crimes they have committed). If a person thinks the sentence is too severe they have the right to appeal against it in a higher court, which has the power to reduce the sentence. As a reward for good behaviour prisoners are often given remission (= are released early). Others get parole, which means that they can go free as long as they do not commit any further crimes. In the US the number of people on probation has increased in recent years, as there is not always room in prisons for all those given a prison sentence. A variety of non-custodial punishments (= ones not requiring time in prison) have been tried in both Britain and the US, including electronic tagging. This punishment requires people to wear a device that informs the police where they are.In Britain the maximum sentence that can be handed down (= decided) by a judge is a life sentence, which in fact usually means spending about 20-25 years in prison. The most serious punishment in the US is the death penalty. Not all states allow capital punishment, and, in those that do, there may be many years of appeals before it can be carried out. See related entries: Committing crime
  2. 2  [countable] crime (against somebody) an illegal act or activity that can be punished by law to commit a crime (= do something illegal) The massacre was a crime against humanity. In his mind he was about to commit the perfect crime. CollocationsCrimeCommitting a crime commit a crime/​a murder/​a violent assault/​a brutal killing/​an armed robbery/​fraud be involved in terrorism/​a suspected arson attack/​people smuggling/​human trafficking engage/​participate in criminal activity/​illegal practices/​acts of mindless vandalism steal somebody’s wallet/​purse/(British English) mobile phone/(North American English) cell phone rob a bank/​a person/​a tourist break into/ (British English) burgle/ (North American English) burglarize a house/​a home/​an apartment hijack a plane/​ship/​bus smuggle drugs/​weapons/​arms/​immigrants launder drug money (through something) forge documents/​certificates/​passports take/​accept/​pay somebody/​offer (somebody) a bribe run a phishing/​an email/​an Internet scamFighting crime combat/​fight crime/​terrorism/​corruption/​drug trafficking prevent/​stop credit-card fraud/​child abuse/​software piracy deter/​stop criminals/​burglars/​thieves/​shoplifters/​vandals reduce/​tackle/​crack down on knife/​gun/​violent/​street crime; (especially British English) antisocial behaviour foil a bank raid/​a terrorist plot help/​support/​protect the victims of crimeInvestigating crime report a crime/​a theft/​a rape/​an attack/(especially British English) an incident to the police witness the crime/​attack/​murder/​incident investigate a murder/(especially North American English) a homicide/​a burglary/​a robbery/​the alleged incident conduct/​launch/​pursue an investigation (into…); (especially British English) a police/​murder inquiry investigate/​reopen a criminal/​murder case examine/​investigate/​find fingerprints at the crime scene/​the scene of crime collect/​gather forensic evidence uncover new evidence/​a fraud/​a scam/​a plot/​a conspiracy/​political corruption/​a cache of weapons describe/​identify a suspect/​the culprit/​the perpetrator/​the assailant/​the attacker question/​interrogate a suspect/​witness solve/​crack the case collocations at justice see also war crime See related entries: Committing crime
  3. 3a crime [singular] (informal) an act that you think is immoral or is a big mistake It's a crime to waste so much money. See related entries: Immoral
  4. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘wickedness, sin’): via Old French from Latin crimen ‘judgement, offence’, based on cernere ‘to judge’.Extra examples Corporate crime—committed by businesses—should not be confused with white-collar crime, which refers to the occupation of the perpetrator and may be directed against a business. Fear of crime imprisons many elderly people in their homes. Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless society. Hate crimes are not punished severely enough in my opinion. He boasted of having carried out the perfect crime. He confessed his crime to his sister. He says that bored youngsters turn to crime. He was charged with the lesser crime of possessing a forged bond, rather than actually forging it. He was charged with the lesser crime of possession. How can we reduce knife crime in our cities? Identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime in the country. Insider dealing has been called a victimless crime. Many crimes are never reported to the police. No weapon was found at the scene of the crime. Not returning phone calls is a grave crime in today’s culture. Police forces will exchange ideas on cracking crime. She claimed that the real crime is that burglars and muggers usually get a light sentence. She never faced trial for her many alleged crimes. The computers were sent to a crime lab for analysis. The crime occurred in broad daylight. The public have a crucial role to play in detecting crime. The punishment should fit the crime. Unemployed young people were likely to be tempted into a life of crime. Victims of crime may be able to obtain compensation. a crackdown on drug-related crime a hate crime against a young gay man a man who solves crimes using old-fashioned detective work a new short story by the popular crime writer a senior detective with the serious crime squad a system of justice to prosecute crimes of terrorism a time of great poverty and rampant crime an apparently motiveless crime attempts to prevent hacking and computer crime crimes against humanity crimes involving firearms crimes punishable by death leading members of an organized crime syndicate one of New York’s biggest crime lords one of the most horrific crimes of recent times one of the most notorious crimes in British history the biggest crime since the Great Train Robbery the country’s crime problem the danger of copycat crimes in the wake of the shootings the latest TV crime series the newspaper’s crime reporter It’s a crime to waste so much money. More needs to be done to help the victims of crime. She had never committed a crime in her life. She writes crime novels. The massacre was a crime against humanity. There is a strong link between drugs and organized crime. There needs to be a partnership between police and public in the fight against crime. These youngsters are often involved in petty crime such as shoplifting and casual theft. This month’s figures show an increase in violent crime.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: crime