crime doesn’t pay

A US slogan particularly associated with the radio crime series The Shadow, in which it was spoken by The Shadow at the end of each broadcast (see quot. 1937), and with the cartoon detective Dick Tracy (see quot. 1954).

1892 Catholic World Dec. 364 Until our laws are so made and executed as to prove that crime doesn’t pay..then only will religion and common-sense..work out the great plan of creation.

1905 Harper’s Weekly 18 Feb. 231/2 If only Christopher had stuck to Sherlock Holmes it would have been impressed upon him that crime doesn’t pay, and that the cleverest criminal gets caught.

1937 E. H. BIERSTADT Shadow: Death House Rescue 26 Sept. (script of radio broadcast) 18 The weed of crime bears bitter fruit... Crime does not pay... The Shadow knows... (Laugh).

1954 S. BECKER Comic Art in America 5 Dick Tracy is the daddy of all cops-and-robbers strips, and Chester Gould..has been announcing to the world since 1931 that crime does not pay.

1959 Times Literary Supplement 12 June 356 War, like crime, may not pay, but that does not make the problem of preventing it any easier.

2001 Country Life 20/27 Dec 85 We hear of..David Steele’s meanness (he was known as ‘Crime’ because he never bought a drink - ‘Crime doesn’t pay’).


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  • Crime Doesn't Pay — Desperate Housewives episode Episode no. Season 5 Episode 16 Directed by Larry Shaw Writ …   Wikipedia

  • Crime doesn't pay. — something that you say which means if you do something illegal, you will probably be caught and punished. Police arrests are being given maximum publicity as a reminder that crime doesn t pay …   New idioms dictionary

  • crime — W2S2 [kraım] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Latin; Origin: crimen judgment, accusation, crime ] 1.) [U] illegal activities in general ▪ We moved here ten years ago because there was very little crime. ▪ Women commit far less crime than men. ▪ Police… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pay — ► VERB (past and past part. paid) 1) give (someone) money due for work, goods, or an outstanding debt. 2) give (a sum of money) thus owed. 3) be profitable or advantageous: crime doesn t pay. 4) suffer a loss or misfortune as a consequence of an… …   English terms dictionary

  • pay — pay1 [ peı ] (present participle paying; past tense and past participle paid [ peıd ] ) verb *** 1. ) intransitive or transitive to give money in order to buy something: pay for: Let me pay for dinner. pay someone for something: Can I pay you for …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pay */*/*/ — I UK [peɪ] / US verb Word forms pay : present tense I/you/we/they pay he/she/it pays present participle paying past tense paid UK [peɪd] / US past participle paid Get it right: pay: The verb pay is never followed by a direct object that refers to …   English dictionary

  • pay — pay1 W1S1 [peı] v past tense and past participle paid [peıd] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(give money)¦ 2¦(bill/tax/rent)¦ 3¦(wage/salary)¦ 4 pay attention (to somebody/something) 5¦(legal cost)¦ 6¦(say something good)¦ 7¦(good result)¦ 8¦(profit)¦ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pay — 1 /peI/ verb past tense and past participle paid /peId/ 1 GIVE MONEY (I, T) to give someone money for something you have bought, or for something they have done for you: They ran off without paying. | Didn t pay em a penny, just asked em to do it …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • crime — /kraIm/ noun 1 CRIME IN GENERAL (U) illegal activities in general: We moved here ten years ago because there was very little crime. | crime prevention (=work done to stop crime from happening): Neighborhood watch groups have been a very effective …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • pay*/*/*/ — [peɪ] (present participle paying; past tense and past participle paid [peɪd] ) verb I 1) [I/T] to give money in order to buy something Let me pay for dinner.[/ex] Will you be paying by cash, cheque, or credit card?[/ex] Can I pay in dollars?[/ex] …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

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