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60 of Crimes and Criminals Vocabulary

Crimes and Criminals Vocabulary

In the English language, there are a lot of specific words for different types of crimes, and the criminals who commit them. 

Unfortunately the list of crimes and criminals vocabulary is long! Since the words have specific legal meanings, only a short basic definition is given below. 


Crimes and Criminals Vocabulary


Here are 59 types of crimes and criminals vocabulary:

1. Thief: A person who steals another person's property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence. noun

  • Car thieves.

2. Robber: A person who commits robbery. noun

  • He robbed the bank.

3. Burglar: A person who commits burglary; housebreaker. noun

  • A two-year sentence for burglary.

4. Shoplifter: A person who commits burglara person who takes goods illegally from a shop without paying for them. noun

  • The supermarket had been targeted by shoplifters and looters.

5. Smuggler: Someone who imports or exports without paying duties. noun

  • An increasing number of migrants are turning to smugglers for help.

6. Murderer

A: A criminal who commits homicide (who performs the unlawful premeditated killing of another human being). noun

  • Convicted murderers.

B: To commit the crime of intentionally killing a person. verb

  • Her husband was murdered by gunmen as she watched.

C: If you say you will or could murder someone, you mean you are very angry with them. verb informal

  • If he's late again, I'll murder him! 

D: To do or perform something very badly, so that you spoil it completely. verb informal

  • Karaoke singers who murder pop classics.

7. Mugger: A person who attacks and robs another in a public place. noun

    • The mugger snatched my purse and ran away.

    8. Rapist: A person who forces someone to have sex with them. noun

    • The police have caught the rapist.

    9. Vandal: A person who intentionally damages property belonging to other people. noun

    • The rear window of the car was smashed by vandals.

    10. Hooligan: A violent young troublemaker, typically one of a gang. noun

    • Hooligan behavior.

    11. Torturer: A person who causes great physical or mental pain, especially in order to persuade someone to do something or to give information. noun

    • They died at the hands of sadistic torturers.

    12. Assassin: One who murders by surprise attack, especially one who carries out a plot to kill a prominent person. noun

    • She hired an assassin to eliminate her rival.

    13. Abduction: To force someone to go somewhere with you, often using threats or violence. noun

    • They organized the abduction of Mr. Cordes on his way to the airport.

    14. Arson: The criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property. noun

    • Police are treating the fire as arson.

    15. Assassination: The action of assassinating someone. noun

    • The assassination of President Kennedy.

    16. Assault:

    A: Make a physical attack on. verb

    • He appeared in court charged with assault.

    B: A physical attack. noun

    • His imprisonment for an assault on the film director. 

    C: A concerted attempt to do something demanding. noun

    • A winter assault on Mt. Everest.

    17. Bigamy: The crime of marrying a person while already legally married to someone else. noun

    • His problem is bigamy.

    18. Blackmail:

    A: The act of getting money from people or forcing them to do something by threatening to tell a secret of theirs or to harm them. noun

    • They were acquitted of charges of blackmail.

    B: Demand money or another benefit from (someone) in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about them. verb

    • Trying to blackmail him for $400,000.

    19. Bombing: An attack or attacks on a place or area using bombs, or the activity of attacking in this way. noun

    • Heavy bombing has gutted the city.

    20. Bribery: The giving or offering of a bribe. noun

    • A bribery scandal.

    21. Child abuse: Behavior in which adults intentionally treat children in a cruel or violent way. noun

    • The campaign urges action over a sickening report on child abuse.

    22. Corruption

    A: Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. noun

    • The journalist who wants to expose corruption in high places.

    B: The process by which something, typically a word or expression, is changed from its original use or meaning to one that is regarded as erroneous or debased. noun

    • A record of a word's corruption.

    23. Crime: An action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law. noun

    • Shoplifting was a serious crime.

    24. Cybercrime, computer-oriented crime: Crime or illegal activity that is done using the internet. noun

    • Cybercrime is committed by cybercriminals or hackers who want to make money.

    25. Domestic violence: The situation in which someone you live with attacks you and tries to hurt you. noun

    • Police, social services, and voluntary agencies are working together to tackle domestic violence.

    26. Drunk driving: The act of driving a vehicle after drinking too much alcohol. noun

    • The police said he was drunk driving.

    27. Embezzlement: The crime of secretly taking money that is in your care or that belongs to an organization or business you work for. noun

    • Charges of fraud and embezzlement.

    28. Espionage: The practice of spying or of using spies, typically by governments to obtain political and military information. noun

    • The camouflage and secrecy of espionage.

    29. Forgery: The action of forging or producing a copy of a document, signature, banknote, or work of art. noun

    • He was found guilty of forgery.

    30. Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. noun

    • He was convicted of fraud.

    31. Genocide: The deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group. noun

    • A campaign of genocide.

    32. Hijacking: An act of unlawfully seizing an aircraft, vehicle, or ship while in transit; a hijack. noun

    • He was involved in a hijacking in 1981.

    33. Hit and run

    A: A road accident in which the driver who caused the accident drives away without helping the other people involved and without telling the police. noun

    • The 24-year-old was the victim of a hit and run, killed by a speeding truck.

    B: A hit-and-run road accident is one in which the driver who caused the accident drives away without helping the other people involved and without telling the police. adjective

    • He struck and killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident.

    34. Homicide: The killing of one person by another, regardless of intention or legality. noun

    • He was convicted of homicide.

    35. Hooliganism: The behaviour of a violent person who fights or causes damage in public places. noun

    • The problems of soccer hooliganism.

    36. Identity theft: The crime of using someone's personal information in order to pretend to be them and to get money or goods in their name. noun

    • Statistics show that millions of people are victims of identity theft each year.

    37. Kidnapping: The action of abducting someone and holding them captive. noun

    • The recent kidnapping of a Dutch industrialist.

    38. Libel

    A: A piece of writing that contains bad and false things about a person. noun

    • She threatened to sue the magazine for libel.

    B: To write and publish something that contains bad and false things about a person. verb

    • She claims the newspaper libelled her in editorials and news articles.

    39. Looting

    A: Steal goods from (a place), typically during a war or riot. noun

    • Desperate residents looted shops for food and water.

    B: The activity of stealing from shops during a violent event. noun

    • There were reports of widespread looting as hooligans stampeded through the city centre.

    40. Lynching:

    A: (of a mob) kill (someone), especially by hanging, for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial. verb

    • Her father had been lynched for a crime he didn't commit.

    B: He act of killing someone without a legal trial, usually by hanging (= killing using a rope around the neck). verb

    • At the time, lynchings were commonplace.

    41. Manslaughter: The crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought, or otherwise in circumstances not amounting to murder. noun

    • The defendant was convicted of manslaughter.

    42. Mugging: An act of attacking and robbing someone in a public place. noun

    • He was the victim of a brutal mugging.

    43. Perjury: The offense of willfully telling an untruth in a court after having taken an oath or affirmation. noun

    • He claimed two witnesses at his trial had committed perjury.

    44. Pickpocketing: The crime of stealing things out of people's pockets or bags, especially in a crowd. noun

    • Higher levels of street crime and pickpocketing.

    45. Pilfer: To steal things of small value. verb

    • She produced the handful of coins she had managed to pilfer.

    46. Poach: To cook something such as a fish, or an egg with its shell removed, by putting it in gently boiling water or other liquid. verb

    • The farmer claimed that he shot the men because they were poaching on his land.

    47. Rape:

    A: To force someone to have sex when they are unwilling, using violence or threatening behaviour. verb

    • She was pulled from the car and raped.

    B: (an example of) the crime of forcefully having sex with someone against their wishes. noun

    • He had committed several rapes.

    48. Riot:

    A: A violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd. noun

    • Riots broke out in the capital.

    B: An impressively large or varied display of something. noun

    • The garden was a riot of color.

    C: A highly amusing or entertaining person or thing. informal noun

    • Everyone thought she was a riot.

    D: Take part in a violent public disturbance. verb

    • Tsudents rioted in Paris.

    49. Robbery: The crime of stealing from someone or somewhere.  noun

    • He was involved in drugs, extortion, and robbery.

    50. Shoplifting: The act of taking things from a shop without paying for them.  noun

    • She had convictions for shoplifting.

    51. Slander

    A: A false spoken statement about someone that damages their reputation, or the making of such a statement.  noun

    • The doctor is suing his partner for slander.

    B: A false, spoken statement about someone which damages that person's reputation, or the making of such a statement.  noun

    • Political campaigns are full of shameless slander.

    C: Statements that someone makes about another person that are not true and that harm their reputation, or the crime of making these statements.  noun

    • Where is the line between slander and free speech?

    D: To say something about someone that is considered to be slander. verb

    • She was accused of slandering the US beef industry on her television show.

    52. Smuggling:

    A: The act or process of taking things or people to or from a place secretly and often illegally. noun

    • The murdered man is thought to have been involved in drug smuggling."

    B: The crime of taking goods or people into or out of a country illegally. noun

    • Major trend in the smuggling of intellectual property these days is microchips.

    53. Speeding:

    A: Driving faster than is allowed in a particular area. noun

    • She was fined for speeding last month.

    B: The act of driving a vehicle faster than is legally allowed. noun

    • He was fined $75 for speeding.

    54. Terrorism: (threats of) violent action for political purposes. noun

    • The fight against terrorism.

    55. Theft: The action or crime of stealing. noun

    • He was convicted of theft.

    56. Trafficking:

    A: The act of buying or selling goods illegally. noun

    • He was wanted on charges of trafficking in stolen property.

    B: The act of buying or selling people, or of making money from work they are forced to do, such as sex work. noun

    • Efforts to combat illegal trafficking in people.

    C: The activity of buying and selling goods or people illegally. noun

    • The government has undertaken a massive drive against drug trafficking.

    57. Treason:

    A: (the crime of) showing no loyalty to your country, especially by helping its enemies or trying to defeat its government. noun

    • In 1606 Guy Fawkes was executed for treason.

    B: The crime of helping your country’s enemies or attempting to illegally remove its government. noun

    • In 1807, Burr was arrested and tried for treason, but he was acquitted.

    58. Trespass

    A: To go onto someone's land or enter their building without permission. verb

    • I hope this is a public footpath and we're not trespassing on someone's land.

    B: To enter someone's property without permission. verb

    • I didn’t realize I was trespassing on their land.

    C: To go onto land or enter a building without the owner's permission. verb

    • A landlord cannot normally claim that a tenant is trespassing on his property.

    D: The crime of going onto someone's land or entering someone's building without permission. noun

    • The law of trespass.

    E: An offence in which you break a moral or religious law. noun

    • Forgive us our trespasses.

    F: The act of going onto land or entering a building without the owner's permission. noun

    • If you enter oil refinery land, you can be arrested for trespass.

    59. Vandalism: A person who intentionally damages property belonging to other people. noun

    • Vandals smashed windows and overturned cars in the downtown shopping district.

    60. Voyeurism: The activity of getting pleasure from secretly watching other people in sexual situations or, more generally, from watching other people's private lives. noun

    • The show veers dangerously close to outright voyeurism.



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