In English, 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 is long! Because the words have specific legal meanings, only a short, basic definition is given below. You may wish to download and print out the list, and write the correct translation of the words in your own language. This would give you the exact meaning.

CRIME DEFINITION CRIMINAL
abduction taking someone away by force, demanding money for their safe return
arson setting fire to a building, cars or property on purpose arsonist
assassination killing a famous person or public figure assassin
assault attacking someone physically assailant
bigamy marrying someone when you are already married to another person bigamist
blackmail threatening to reveal someone’s secrets if a lot of money is not paid blackmailer*
bombing detonating an explosive device with the plan of harming people or property bomber
bribery giving money or granting favors to influence another person’s decisions or behavior briber*
burglary breaking into a house in order to steal something burglar
child abuse treating a child badly in a physical, emotional, or sexual way child abuser
corruption behaving illegally and dishonestly; especially those in power
crime doing something illegal that can be punished by law criminal
cybercrime doing something illegal over the Internet or a computer system cyber criminal
hacker**
domestic violence behaving violently inside the home
drunk driving driving with too much alcohol in your blood drunk driver
embezzlement stealing large amounts of money that you are responsible for, often over a period of time embezzler
espionage spying, to obtain political or military information spy
forgery illegally copying documents, money, etc. to cheat people forger
fraud getting money from people by cheating them con artist
fraud
genocide killing on purpose a large number of people, especially from a particular group or area
hijacking taking control of a plane, train etc by force, often to meet political demands hijacker
hit and run not stopping to help a person hurt in an accident caused by you
homicide killing another person on purpose
hooliganism being violent or aggressive on purpose; often used to describe youth hooligan
identity theft using someone else’s personal information for one’s own gain
kidnapping taking someone away by force, often demanding money for their safe return kidnapper
libel damaging someone’s reputation by writing lies about them
looting taking things illegally and by force, during a riot, war, etc. looter
lynching killing someone without legal process, often by hanging, often by an angry mob
manslaughter killing someone by accident
mugging attacking someone with a plan to rob them mugger
murder killing someone on purpose murderer
perjury lying in court, while under oath
pickpocketing stealing wallets, money, etc. from people’s pockets in crowded places pickpocketer
pilfering stealing small quantities of goods over time
poaching hunting illegally poacher
rape forcing someone to have sex rapist
riot causing a noisy, violent public disturbance rioter
robbery stealing large amounts of money with force or violence from a bank, store, etc. robber
shoplifting stealing something from a store shoplifter
slander damaging someone’s reputation by speaking lies about them
smuggling taking things secretly in or out of a place, country, jail, etc. smuggler
speeding driving above the speed limit
terrorism using violence, threats, or fear, usually for political purposes terrorist
theft stealing, in general thief
trafficking trading something illegal like drugs, people, etc.
treason betraying one’s country by helping its enemies traitor
trespassing entering another person’s area; hurting people/damaging property through force trespasser
vandalism destroying private or public property purposely vandal
voyeurism secretly watching naked people or sexual acts & getting sexually excited voyeur

* uncommon

** hacker does not technically mean a cyber criminal, but the word is often used to describe those who commit computer crimes.

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Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
What is "manslaughter"?

What is "blackmail"?

Which word means "stealing", in general?

What is an "arsonist"?

Which word describes the crime of breaking into a home to steal?

Which word describes a person who forces sex on someone else?

What is the crime of killing a person on purpose?

Which word describes a white-collar crime specifically done by people who steal large amounts of money that have been placed in their care?

Which kind of theft involves stealing money from a bank or shop using violence or force?

Who is the person who steals goods from a shop without paying for them?


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