from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To reduce or abolish criminal penalties for: decriminalize the use of marijuana.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To change the laws so something is no longer a crime. Opposite of criminalize.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. make legal
Sorry, no etymologies found.
January 31, 2008 at 12: 06 PM what's important is the distinction between "decriminalize" and "legalize" ... how very Republican of you to follow the Washington TIMES and ignore nuance in favor of a soundbite.
This wish to "decriminalize" disreputable behavior that "harms no one" - and thus remove the ultimate sanction the police can employ to maintain neighborhood order — is, we think, a mistake.
I believe that it is not acceptable to claim that it is enough to "decriminalize" cannabis use.
In view of the readily apparent down sides of the "drug war" and seeing potential new sources of revenue and apathy, they will soon "decriminalize" marijuana.
The legislation is not going to "decriminalize" prostitution; it would merely change the law to prevent prosecution of those under the age of 16.
But to "decriminalize" something is to make it more widely available.
Taiwan will formally decriminalize prostitution in November, but it will be legal only in certain areas.
Even after this year's move to decriminalize, police could nab prostitutes until rules on solicitation and zoning become clearer.
That would decriminalize it and make the law an assistance to the feds rather than potentially usurping their authority.
One possibility is to decriminalize the individual use of drugs while maintaining laws against supplying them, thus allowing law-enforcement efforts to focus on the drug peddlers.