Past and present crime vocabulary and speaking

Crime vocabulary/ history vocabulary/ past modals

Decide if each section below is mainly connected to crime and punishment in the past or the present: 


Banditry                                                        Piracy                                                           Sheep rustling

Pillaging                                                       Slave revolts                                                Witchcraft

Usury                                                            Apostasy                                                     Horse theft



White collar crime                                       Hacking                                                        Phishing scams

Shoplifting                                                    Human trafficking                                        Suicide bombing

Sexual harassment



Stocks                                            Beheading                                                   The rack

Witch trials                                                   Ordeal                                                          Ducking stool

The Inquisition                               Heresy                                                          Banishment



Electric chair                                                Lie detector                                                 CSI

Pathologist                                                   Electronic tagging                                       Open prison

Community service                                     DNA analysis                                 Breathalyser

Speed camera                              CCTV



Outlaw                                                          Mobster                                                        Poacher

Buccaneer                                                   Runaway slave                              Adulterer

Rum smuggler                                             Highwayman



Branding                                                      Excommunication                                       Crucifixion

Impaling                                                        Burning at the stake                                    Torture chambers

Lynch mob                                                   Whipping                                                      Pillory

Transportation                                             Guillotine


Which sections are crimes, which are criminals and which sections are connected to crime detection and punishments?

What are the names for the criminals who do the crimes in the crime sections?


Are any of the crimes or punishments in the past sections still relevant to the present?

Do you think any of the punishments and crimes from history that don’t exist in your country anymore should be reinstated?

Which ones have been connected to films or TV programmes?

Crazy laws

Discuss with your partner if you think the rules below are present rules or only in the past, using phrases like those on the previous page to express how sure you are of your ideas

UK/ pregnant woman/ go to toilet anywhere including/ policeman’s helmet

Europe/ dead bodies/ criminals/ hung up in public

York/ legal/ murder a Scotsman if/ carry/ bow and arrow

In Europe animals/ put on trial

Scandinavia/ trial by combat

Germany/ jury/ all freeborn men

Illegal/ carry/ dead pig/ London cab

France/ forbidden/ call/ pig Napoleon

Rome / all witnesses/ male

UK/ nagging woman/ ducked in water

Toronto/ illegal/ ride/ streetcar/ eating garlic

Look below the fold for the answers and make whole sentences for any you got wrong or couldn’t guess.



UK/ pregnant woman/ go to toilet anywhere including/ policeman’s helmet- present

Europe/ dead bodies/ criminals/ hung up in public- past

York/ legal/ murder a Scotsman if/ carry/ bow and arrow- present

In Europe animals/ put on trial- past

Scandinavia/ trial by combat- past

Germany/ jury/ all freeborn men- past

Illegal/ carry/ dead pig/ London cab- present

France/ forbidden/ call/ pig Napoleon- present

Rome / all witnesses/ male- past

UK/ nagging woman/ ducked in water- past

Toronto/ illegal/ ride/ streetcar/ eating garlic- present


PDF for easy saving and printing: Past and present crime

Related pages

History page

Crime vocabulary page

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