noun lar·ce·ny \-nē, -sə-nē\

law : the act of stealing something

plural lar·ce·nies

Full Definition of LARCENY

:  the unlawful taking of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently

Origin of LARCENY

Middle English, from Anglo-French larecin theft, from Latin latrocinium robbery, from latron-, latro mercenary soldier, probably from Greek *latrōn, from latron pay
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, malfeasance, modus operandi
LARCENY Defined for Kids


noun lar·ce·ny \ˈlär-sə-nē\
plural lar·ce·nies

Definition of LARCENY for Kids

:  the unlawful taking of personal property without the owner's consent :  theft

Word History of LARCENY

In Latin, the language of ancient Rome, the word latro referred to a soldier who fought for pay rather than from a sense of duty. Because such soldiers had a poor reputation, the meaning of the word came to be robber or bandit, and the word derived from it, latrocinium, meant act of robbery. Latrocinium became larecin, theft, in medieval French, and this word was borrowed into English as larceny.


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