Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To reduce or abolish criminal penalties for.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb 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.

  • verb make legal

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • 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.

    POTHEAD HUSSEIN VS. JOHN MCCAIN?

  • 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.

    Broken Windows

  • 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.

    Broken Windows

  • I believe that it is not acceptable to claim that it is enough to "decriminalize" cannabis use.

    Cannabis: The Report Of The Canadian Government Commission Of Inquiry Into The Non-Medical Use Of Drugs

  • 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.

    AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed

  • The legislation is not going to "decriminalize" prostitution; it would merely change the law to prevent prosecution of those under the age of 16.

    Right Wing Watch

  • The legislation is not going to "decriminalize" prostitution; it would merely change the law to prevent prosecution of those under the age of 16.

    Right Wing Watch

  • But to "decriminalize" something is to make it more widely available.

    Newspaper Tree

  • Taiwan will formally decriminalize prostitution in November, but it will be legal only in certain areas.

    Decriminalizing The Sex Trade

  • Even after this year's move to decriminalize, police could nab prostitutes until rules on solicitation and zoning become clearer.

    Decriminalizing The Sex Trade

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