criminalise vs outlaw what difference

what is difference between criminalise and outlaw



From criminal +‎ -ise


criminalise (third-person singular simple present criminalises, present participle criminalising, simple past and past participle criminalised)

  1. Non-Oxford British English standard spelling of criminalize.


  • decriminalise



  • Homophones: criminalisent, criminalises



  1. first-person singular present indicative of criminaliser
  2. third-person singular present indicative of criminaliser
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of criminaliser
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of criminaliser
  5. second-person singular imperative of criminaliser



From Middle English outlawe, outlagh, utlaȝe, from Old English ūtlaga (outlaw), borrowed from Old Norse útlagi (outlaw, fugitive), equivalent to out- +‎ law. Cognate with Icelandic útlagi (outlaw).


  • IPA(key): /ˈaʊtlɔː/


outlaw (plural outlaws)

  1. A fugitive from the law.
  2. (historical) A criminal who is excluded from normal legal rights; one who can be killed at will without legal penalty.
  3. A person who operates outside established norms.
  4. A wild horse.
  5. (humorous) An in-law: a relative by marriage.
  6. (humorous) One who would be an in-law except that the marriage-like relationship is unofficial.
  7. (slang) A prostitute who works alone, without a pimp.
    • 1977, Joseph Julian, Social Problems (page 463)
      Without a pimp, she was an “outlaw,” likely to be harassed, or threatened with assault or robbery on the street.
    • 2010, Lawrence Block, Eight Million Ways To Die
      She was an outlaw. Chance is doing some double-checking to see if she had a pimp nobody knew about, but it doesn’t look likely.


  • (fugitive): absconder, fugitive
  • (criminal): bandit, wolfshead
  • (person who operates outside established norms): anti-hero, deviant


  • (criminal): See Thesaurus:criminal
  • (prostitute): See Thesaurus:prostitute



outlaw (third-person singular simple present outlaws, present participle outlawing, simple past and past participle outlawed)

  1. To declare illegal.
  2. To place a ban upon.
  3. To remove from legal jurisdiction or enforcement.
  4. To deprive of legal force.
    • 1662, Thomas Fuller, History of the Worthies of England
      our English common law was outlawed in those parts.

See also

  • criminalize
  • felonize
  • misdemeanorize


Further reading

  • outlaw in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • outlaw in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • outlaw at OneLook Dictionary Search

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