Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    At common law, any offense punishable by death, or forfeiture of property. See 156 U. S. 464, 39 L. Ed. 494, 15 Sup. Ct. Rep. 467; generally in the United States any offense punishable with death or imprisonment in a state prison.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In English law. This term meant originally the state of having forfeited lands and goods to the crown upon conviction for cortain offenses, and then, by transition, any offense upon conviction for which such forfeiture followed, in addition to any other punishment prescribed by law; as distinguished from a "misdemeanor," upon conviction for which no forfeiture followed. All indictable offenses are either felonies or misdemeanors, but a material part of the distinction is taken away by St 33 & 34 Viet, c. 23, which abolishes forfeiture for felony. Wharton. In American law. The term has no very definite or precise meaning, except in some cases where it is defined by statute. For the most part, the sinte laws, in describing any particular offense, declare whether or not it shall be considered a felony. Apart from this, the word seems merely to imply a crime of a graver or more atrocious nature than those designated as "misdemeanors." U. S. v. Coppersmith (C. C.) 4 Fed. 205; Bannon v. U. S., 156 U. S. 464, 15 Sup. Ct. 467, 39 L. Ed. 494; Mitchell v. Sinte, 42 Ohio St. 386; State v. Lincoln, 49 N. H. 469. The statutes or codes of several of the states define felony as any publlc offense on conviction of which the offender is liable to be sentenced to death or to imprisonment in a penitentiary or state prison. Pub. St. Mass. 1882, p. 1290; Code Ala. 1886, § 3701; Code Ga. 1882, § 3404 ; 34 Ohio St. 301; 1 Wis. 188; 2 Rev., St. N. Y. p. 587, § 30; People v. Van Steenburgh, 1 Parker, Cr. R. (N. Y.) 39. In fendal law. An act or offense on the part of the vassal, which cost him his fee, or in consequence of which his fee fell into the hands of his lord; that is, became forfeited. (See Felonia.) Perfidy, ingratitude, or disloyality to a lord.
    —Felony act. The stafute 33 & 34 Viet. c. 23, abolishing forfeitures for felony, and sanctioning the appointment of interim curators and administrators of the property of felons. Mozley & Whitley; 4 Steph. Comm. 10, 459
    — Felony, compounding of. See Compounding Felony.
    —Misprision of felony. See Misprision.