Burglary – breaking and entering any building with the intent to commit a felony (i.e. larceny, murder)

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n. (16c)

1. The common-law offense of breaking and entering another’s dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony.  See HOUSEBREAKING.

2. The modern statutory offense of breaking and entering any building — not just a dwelling, and not only at night — with the intent to commit a felony.  *  Some statutes make petit larceny an alternative to a felony for purposes of proving burglarious intent. — aka (in sense 2) breaking and entering; statutory burglary. [1]

 1. A compound of the Saxon word “burgh,” a house, and “laron,” theft , meaning, at common law, the breaking and entering, in the nighttime, of the dwelling of another with intent to commit a felony therein. Clurn v New Amsterdam Casualty Co. 281 Pa 464, 126 A 810; 36 ALR 1122.

The offense of burglary has been materially broadened by statute to include the acts of breaking and entering structures other than a dwelling. 13 Am 12d Burgl §§ 3 et seq. retaining, however, the element of intent to commit a felony. [2]

1. At common law, the offense of breaking and entering a dwelling at night with the intent to commit a felony (EXAMPLES: theft; murder).  The crime of burglary has been broadened by statute to include entering buildings other than dwellings, with or without a breaking, and regardless of the time of day or night. [3]

General Legal Terms
pertaining to Burglary:

n. (16c)

1. Someone who commits burglary. [1]

1. One guilty of the offense of burglary.


1. With intent to commit burglary. 13 Am J2d Burgl § 69.


1. An ancient word meaning to burglarlze; to commit burglary.  Wulward of Wadebridge was burgled.  Rex v Hay, Selden Soc. Select Pleas of the Crown Vol I p 5. [2]

adj. (18c)

1. Of, relating to, or involving burglary <burglarious intent>.burglariously, adv.

vb. (1871)

1. To commit a burglary; especially, to go into (a building) with the purpose of stealing things <the defendant burglarized three houses>. — aka (esp. BrE) burgle. [1]


1. The condition of premises upon which the offense of burglary has been committed. Having committed burglary upon certain premises. State v Mares, 61 NM 46, 294 P2d 287. [2]

burglary tool:

1. An implement designed to help a person commit a burglary.  *  In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to possess such a tool if the possessor intends to commit a burglary. — aka housebreaking implement. [1]

1. Tools or implements of such design and construction as to be adaptable for use in cutting through, or breaking open any building, room, vault, safe, or other depository.  13 Am 12d Burgl § 74.
     See possession of burglars’ tools.

burglar alarm   See alarm system. [2]

Types of Burglary:

generic burglary:

1. An unlawful or unprivileged entry into, or remaining in, a building or structure with intent to commit a crime.  See Taylor v. U.S., 495 U.S. 575, 110 S. Ct. 2143 (1990). [1]

second degree burglary:

1. A daytime burglary.  The breaking ad entering of an uninhabited dwelling house or apartment, or a dwelling house or apartment not actually occupied at the time, with intent to commit a felony.  13 Am J2d Burgl § 28. [2]


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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