Definition of criminalize in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkrɪmɪn(ə)lʌɪz/
(also criminalise)


[with object]
1Turn (an activity) into a criminal offence by making it illegal: his view is that the state should not criminalize drug use but discourage it
More example sentences
  • ‘Our existing law already criminalises much activity that could fall within that description of giving and receiving terrorist training.’
  • In their view, some of the proposed offences were excessively broad or too vague and could criminalise peaceful activities.
  • On 1 July there was a protest march against legislation aimed at criminalizing pro-independence activities.
1.1Turn (someone) into a criminal by making their activities illegal: these punitive measures would further criminalize travellers for their way of life
More example sentences
  • Asbos are a punitive measure that can criminalise people for behaviour that is not criminal.
  • This may be seen as a rationalization of the appellate courts' tendency to stretch the interpretation of statutes so as to criminalize people who, they think, have manifestly committed a serious wrong.
  • New legislation directed against illegal immigrants also criminalises anyone who aids them.
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