Definition of DELINQUENCY


Delinquency is a noun that denotes behavior, especially among young people, that is unlawful, antisocial, or violates societal norms or legal standards. It encompasses several key aspects:

Unlawful Behavior: Delinquency involves engaging in activities or actions that contravene laws, regulations, or legal standards, such as theft, vandalism, substance abuse, or violent behavior. It may range from minor offenses to more serious criminal acts.

Antisocial Conduct: Delinquency encompasses behavior that disrupts social order, undermines community cohesion, or poses risks to the safety and well-being of individuals or groups. It may involve defiance of authority, peer pressure, or rebellion against societal norms.

Risk Factors and Protective Factors: Understanding delinquency requires consideration of various risk factors, such as socioeconomic disadvantage, family dysfunction, peer influence, or exposure to violence, as well as protective factors that mitigate the likelihood of delinquent behavior.

Prevention and Intervention: Addressing delinquency involves early intervention, prevention programs, and support services aimed at addressing underlying risk factors, promoting positive youth development, and diverting individuals away from criminal behavior toward more constructive pathways.

In summary, delinquency refers to behavior, particularly among young people, that is unlawful, antisocial, or violates societal norms, requiring attention to risk factors, prevention strategies, and intervention efforts to promote positive outcomes and community safety.

Examples of DELINQUENCY in a sentence

  • The increase in juvenile delinquency is a growing concern for the community.
  • The organization aims to reduce the rate of delinquency among at-risk youth.
  • He was arrested for his involvement in acts of delinquency.
  • The school implemented programs to address student delinquency and promote positive behavior.
  • Economic hardship can sometimes contribute to a rise in delinquency rates.
  • The city launched initiatives to combat delinquency in high-crime neighborhoods.
  • Parental involvement is crucial in preventing adolescent delinquency.
  • The social worker specializes in working with youth at risk of delinquency.

Etymology of DELINQUENCY

The term “delinquency” is derived from the Latin word “delinquentia,” which comes from “delinquere,” meaning “to fail” or “to offend.” Here’s the breakdown:

  • Delinquere (Latin): Referring to “to fail” or “to offend.”
  • Delinquentia (Latin): Noun form of “delinquentia,” indicating the state of failing or offending.
  • Delinquency (Modern English): Borrowed from Latin, retaining the sense of failing to fulfill a duty or obligation, especially with regard to law or moral standards, often used to refer to criminal behavior or juvenile offenses.

Therefore, “delinquency” originally described the state of failing to fulfill a duty or obligation, and it now primarily refers to behavior, especially by juveniles, that is antisocial or criminal in nature.


  • Misconduct
  • Offense
  • Misbehavior
  • Transgression
  • Wrongdoing
  • Violation
  • Infraction
  • Breach


  • Compliance
  • Obedience
  • Conformity
  • Observance
  • Adherence
  • Rectitude
  • Uprightness
  • Probity


  • Crime
  • Wrong
  • Sin
  • Fault
  • Blame
  • Guilt
  • Immorality
  • Malfeasance

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