English Synonyms and Antonyms
Every criminal act is illegal or unlawful, but illegal or unlawful acts may not be criminal. Offenses against public law are criminal; offenses against private rights are merely illegal or unlawful. As a general rule, all acts punishable by fine or imprisonment or both, are criminal in view of the law. It is illegal for a man to trespass on another's land, but it is not criminal; the trespasser is liable to a civil suit for damages, but not to indictment, fine, or imprisonment. A felonious act is a criminal act of an aggravated kind, which is punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary or by death. A flagitious crime is one that brings public odium. Vicious refers to the indulgence of evil appetites, habits, or passions; vicious acts are not necessarily criminal, or even illegal; we speak of a vicious horse. That which is iniquitous, i. e., contrary to equity, may sometimes be done under the forms of law. Ingratitude is sinful, hypocrisy is wicked, but neither is punishable by human law; hence, neither is criminal or illegal. Compare SIN.
Dictionary of English Synonymes
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