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The meaning and origin of the expression: Crime doesn't pay

Crime doesn't pay

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'Crime doesn't pay'?

The proverbial saying 'crime doesn't pay' is the view that punishment rather than profit is the ultimate consequence of crime.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Crime doesn't pay'?

Crime doesn't payThe proverb 'crime doesn't pay' is an example of a Victorian saying that was meant to encourage morality and work. It was something that, for the smooth working of society, the authorities would like the populace to believe rather than a time-tested encapsulation of human wisdom.

The saying isn't especially old - the earliest that I can find it in print is in the 1860 edition of the UK Law Magazine & Law Review:

In these hours of solitude he is led, perhaps for the first time in his life, to wholesome reflection. His earliest thought will probably be that crime does not pay.

Whether or not crime does pay is an open question.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

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