Crime (HUM415)

From the Oxford English Dictionary:

crime, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /krʌɪm/ , U.S. /kraɪm/
Forms:  ME crym, ME–16 cryme, ME– crimeSc. pre-17 chryme, pre-17 17 cryme, pre-17 17– crime.
Etymology:  < Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French crime (French crime ) sin, wrongdoing, criminal act (12th cent.; in Middle French also accusation (15th cent.)) < classical Latin crīmen charge, accusation, matter for accusation or blame, reproach, offence, misdeed, in post-classical Latin also sin (late 2nd or early 3rd cent. in Tertullian) < the base of cernere cern v.1 + -men (see -ment suffix). Compare Old Occitan crim, Catalan crim (13th cent.), Spanish crimen (13th cent.), †crim (14th cent.), Portuguese crime (13th cent.), Italian crimine (a1306).

 a. Sin; sinfulness; wrongdoing. Chiefly poet. in later use. Obs.
c1250   in Englische Studien (1935) 70 234   Þe smet [read smec] was iwonken of ure heuene kinke; þat ofþutte Cayme, þe fule niþincke.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Titus i. 6   If ony man is withouten cryme, or greet synne [L. sine crimine].
1440   J. Capgrave Life St. Norbert 2455   He halid him bath fro langour and fro cryme.
a1500  (▸?a1450)    Gesta Rom. (Harl. 7333) 74 (MED),   No man may lyve withoute cryme.
1590   Spenser Faerie Queene ii. xii. sig. Bb,   Whilest louing thou mayst loued be with equall crime.
1625   Psalme of Mercy 258   Gods mercy is not restrained, either by the enormity of Crime, or extremity of time.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost i. 79   One next himself in power, and next in crime.
1740   S. Richardson Pamela I. xxxi. 250,   I will be innocent of Crime in my Intention, and in the Sight of God.
1813   Shelley Queen Mab vi. 74   Crime and misery are in yonder earth, Falsehood, mistake, and lust.
1892   D. Sigerson in Irish Monthly 20 211   To a heart’s despair sin scarce seems sin—When hope dies out, maybe crime steals in.

 b. An evil or injurious act; an offence, a sin; esp. of a grave character.

c1390   in C. Horstmann Minor Poems Vernon MS (1892) i. 86 (MED),   Heil Modur of Sone i-blest, Þorwh whom dyliuered beone Þei þat wiþ crymes ben opprest.
?c1475   Catholicon Anglicum (BL Add. 15562) f. 30v,   A Cryme,..vbi trespas or syn.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection iii. sig. PPPiiiv,   All the crymes of the tonge, as sclaunders..and priuey backbytynges.
1577   M. Hanmer tr. Socrates Scholasticus in Aunc. Eccl. Hist. ii. xiii. 261   All such crymes as Athanasius was charged withall, were meere false.
a1616   Shakespeare Othello (1622) v. ii. 28   If you bethinke your selfe of any crime, Vnreconcil’d as yet to heauen and grace.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost i. 214   That with reiterated crimes he might Heap on himself damnation.
1706   J. Addison Rosamond i. i,   ‘Tis her crime to be loved, ‘Tis her crime to have charms.
1768   H. Brooke Fool of Quality III. 220,   I held myself as the Refugee Jonas, whose Crimes brought Perdition on all in the Vessel.
1842   E. Miall in Nonconformist 2 1   If in future we should go astray, we can plead no excuse in extenuation of the crime.
1887   M. Burt Browning’s Women 52   Unforgivingness beyond a certain limit is a base crime.
1926   in R. P. Arnot Gen. Strike 233   The..decision to call off the General Strike is the greatest crime that has ever been permitted..against the working class.
1969   R. Howard Untitled Subj. 64   The worst crimes of all are committed in the home, that sanctuary out of the law’s reach.
2007   A. Theroux Laura Warholic xxxiii. 518   Blaise Pascal, repenting the pollutions of his sensual youth,..came to deem even his own mother’s kiss a crime.

 c. In weakened use: a shameful or regrettable act; an unfortunate situation; a bad thing.In later use influenced by sense 2.

1636   R. Baker tr. Cato Variegatus 53   To let Time slip, is a recurelesse crime. You may have Time againe; but not the Time.
1697   J. Vanbrugh Provok’d Wife i. 5   You have given me so many proofs of your Friendship, that my reserve has been indeed a Crime.
a1797   H. Walpole Mem. George II (1847) III. i. 19   Those, who, two years ago, lay under the irremissible crime of being Tories.
1832   P. Egan Bk. Sports 346/1   A free slashing hitter, who holds it a crime To get any less than six runs a time.
1898   Westm. Gaz. 24 Nov. 3/2   Inconsequent trimmings, that have no raison d’être, are well known to be the crime of the third-rate dressmaker.
1912   E. Ferber Buttered Side Down viii. 140   The wall-paper was a crime. It represented an army of tan mustard plasters climbing up a chocolate-fudge wall.
2003   V. O. Carter Such Sweet Thunder 178   Doin’ any and ever’thin’ they say, workin’ Sund’ys, workin’ nights—for twelve lousy dollars a week! It’s a crime!

  a. An act or omission constituting an offence (usually a grave one) against an individual or the state and punishable by law.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Deeds xxiii. 29   Hauynge no cryme [L. nihil criminis] worthi the deeth, or bondis.
?a1425  (▸c1400)    Mandeville’s Trav. (Titus C.xvi) (1919) 191   Ȝif the kyng himself do ony homycydie or ony cryme, as to sle a man..he schall dye þerefore.
?1449   Petition in Rotuli Parl. (1767–77) V. 156/2   And he be founde faillyng therinne, he shall not oonly renne into the crime of Perjurie, but be put oute of his office.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) Acts xxv. 16   The Cryme wher of he is accused.
1580   Baret’s Aluearie (rev. ed.) C 359   To be charged or conuinced in many crimes.
a1616   Shakespeare Timon of Athens (1623) iii. vi. 82   If by this Crime, he owes the Law his life.
1675   Sir L. Jenkins in Life II. 714   Every Man, by the Usage of our European Nations, is justiciable in the Place where the Crime is committed.
1726   Swift Gulliver I. i. vi. 100   Ingratitude is among them a capital Crime, as we read it to have been in some other Countries.
1769   W. Blackstone Comm. Laws Eng. IV. 5   A crime, or misdemeanor, is an act committed, or omitted, in violation of a public law.
1809   J. Adams Let. 9 Jan. (1854) IX. 316   The impressment of crime punishable with death by all civilized nations.
1867   Manch. Examiner 10 Oct.,   With the moralist bribery is a sin; with the legislator a crime.
1913   Sat. Evening Post 22 Feb. 4/1   If a person were accused of a crime and seemed likely to be indicted.
1959   F. Sondern Brotherhood of Evil iv. 60   Sicilians who had left their country to avoid punishment for crimes they had committed there.
2004   H. Kennedy Just Law (2005) i. 28   Judith Ward was also convicted of crimes she did not commit.

 b. Such acts collectively; breaking of the law.

1485   Caxton tr. Lyf St. Wenefryde sig. a iii,   O thou wycked man whiche hast..slayn by cryme as an homycyde this noble vyrgyn.
1533   Fabyan’s Chron. II. f. ccxxviii,   None myght lyue that thou accused of cryme.
1576   G. Pettie Petite Pallace 9   Seing in al degrees of freind ship, equality is cheefly considered, I trust you will clere me of crime that way.
1622   Bacon Hist. Raigne Henry VII 196   It was neither guilt of Crime, nor reason of State, that could quench the Enuie that was vpon the King for this Execution.
1670   T. Blount Resol. Jvdges Statutes Bankrupts 49   The High-Commissioners cannot extend themselves but only to Crime.
1762   O. Goldsmith Citizen of World II. 38,   I was imprisoned, though a stranger to crime.
1769   W. Blackstone Comm. Laws Eng. IV. 94   Felony..comprizes every species of crime, which occasioned at common law the forfeiture of lands or goods.
1833   Times 21 Aug. 4/5   Here was ample cause to account for the increase of crime.
1879   J. A. Froude Cæsar viii. 72   Others came, like Sergius Catiline.., men steeped in crime.
1932   N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 10 Jan. 17/3   A gangster who calls himself Napoleon and who goes in for crime in a big way.
1969   R. Salerno & J. S. Tompkins Crime Confederation 203   The profits of crime are untaxed.
2005   T. Hall Salaam Brick Lane vi. 130   Before long, they had joined a street gang and found themselves embroiled in a life of crime.

3. A charge; an accusation. In quot. c1384: cause for accusation. Obs.

c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) 1 Macc. ix. 10   Ȝif oure tyme hath neiȝid, dye we in vertu of oure bretheren, and ȝeue we not cryme [L. crimen] to oure glorie.
c1405  (▸c1380)    Chaucer Second Nun’s Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 455   For we bere a cristen name Ye putte on vs a cryme & eek a blame.
a1450  (▸c1410)    H. Lovelich Merlin (1904) I. l. 1326   Ȝif j delyvere my modir of this cryme anon, schal sche thanne ony more jn warde be?
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection ii. sig. Siii,   To whome they byeng moste innocent hath ben put the cryme of fornicacion.
1562   T. Cooper Answere Def. Truth f. 101v, in Apol. Priuate Masse,   The same crimes may bee more iustly retourned to your selfe and yours.
1603   A. Willet Retection iii. 156   Chrysostome saith, that hee which raiseth a crime against his brother, doth as it were eate his brothers flesh.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost ix. 1181,   I rue That errour now, which is become my crime, And thou th’ accuser.
1721   G. Jacob Treat. Laws ii. 250   A cross Accusation is, when one that is accused, retorts the same Crime upon the Accuser.
1819   Shelley Rosalind & Helen 29   All present who these crimes did hear..slunk away.

2 thoughts on “Crime (HUM415)

  1. voltarian

    Dear Professor,

    I have been alerted to the NSA’s broaching of our privacy as well. If I should be accepted to The New School in NY for my PhD I am certain Agamben shall never be my teacher. Though I will hold out hope for studying at EGS in the future. In the meantime, I did find this resource and thought you would appreciate it if you haven’t already mined it lores ago. Bon appetit!


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