phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: M.O.

Posted by R. Berg on November 01, 2002

In Reply to: Re: patterns of behavio(u)r posted by ESC on November 01, 2002

: : : : : Patterns of behavior are entirely separate from modus operandi.

: : : : : M/o is limited to the actual criminal act. A B&E man's M/O might include cutting the backdoor screen and taking the silverware. The fact that he defecates on the living room rug every time is not part of his m/o - it is a behavior unrelated to the crime at hand, burglary/theft.

: : : : Cutting a screen is nevertheless an instance of behavior.

: : : Main Entry: mo·dus ope·ran·di
: : : Pronunciation: "mO-d&s-"ä-p&-'ran-dE, -"dI
: : : Function: noun
: : : Inflected Form(s): plural mo·di operandi /'mO-"dE-, 'mO-"dI-/
: : : Etymology: New Latin
: : : Date: 1654
: : : : a method of procedure; especially : a distinct pattern or method of operation that indicates or suggests the work of a single criminal in more than one crime

: : : Given that dictionary definition, the rug pooper's habit helps establish his distinct (stinc-y?) pattern.

: : Hmmm. I have to disagree mildly with the statement that "patterns of behavior are entirely separate from modus operandi". I think that they're not unrelated, but it's just that modi operandi are a subset of behaviour patterns - a subset that is solely involved with achieving the goal or purpose of the crime (or deed).

: : In th case of the rug-despoiling burglar referred to above, I'd agree that fouling the carpet is strictly speaking *not* part of his modus operandi, presuming that financial gain was his only goal. However, if some psychotic anarchic activist took it upon himself to break into a number of houses on Rodeo Drive for the express purpose of vandalising them in some misguided effort to show his disapproval of capitalism, then, if he invariably pooped on the shag-pile, that *would* be part of his modus operandi.

: "She always starts a big argument then storms out of the room. That's her MO." I've heard the phrase used that way. It sounds like a pattern of behavior to me.

The definition in Webster's Second Unabridged is simply "Manner or mode of operating or working."