criminal conversation

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criminal conversation (uncountable)

  1. (law) Unlawful sexual intercourse with a married person; adultery; a common law tort arising from adultery, abolished in many jurisdictions.
    • 1789, Adultery: The Trial of Mr. William Atkinson, Linen-Draper, of Cheapside for Criminal Conversation with Mrs. Conner, page 1,
      It then charged the defendant, William Atkinſon, with having ſeduced the plaintiff's wife, and with having had criminal converſation with her.
    • 1809, The Trial of the Right Honorable Lord Paget, for Criminal Conversation with Lady Charlotte Wellesley, page 28,
      Gentlemen of the Jury, This is an action for a compensation by damages, in consequence of a criminal conversation with the Plaintiff's wife, the circumstances of which are more serious and more painful than any I ever met with.
    • 2012, Faramerz Dabhoiwala, The Origins of Sex, Penguin 2013, p. 77:
      The main object now was not necessarily to punish or even to prevent immorality, but to improve the law of divorce and to restrict private suits for ‘criminal conversation’.


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