Arson Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Arson, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Arson?

(n) Arson is the act of burning an article or property with a purpose to destroy or damage them, scar or horrify the public or a section of them, with a criminal intention. Eg. Setting the farmhouse to fire to force the inmates to leave the place.

History and Meaning of Arson

Arson is a criminal offense that has been around for centuries. Its origin comes from the French word "arson" which means "to burn." In ancient times, arson was used as a weapon of war, as armies would often set fire to the enemy's fields, crops, and buildings. Today, the definition of arson has evolved to include the motive of the offender, which is often to harm someone, damage property, or commit insurance fraud.

Examples of Arson

  1. John was caught setting fire to his neighbor's car in a fit of rage.

  2. The local business was destroyed in a massive fire, and it was later determined that it was the result of arson.

  3. The firefighters bravely battled the flames and prevented the arsonist from causing more destruction.

Legal Terms Similar to Arson

  1. Burglary - the act of illegally entering a premises with the intent to commit a crime.

  2. Vandalism - the deliberate destruction or damage of public or private property.

  3. Reckless Endangerment - charges when the defendant exhibits extreme indifference to the value of human life, and they put other people in danger.