by 1590s, "a playful leap or jump, a skip or spring as in dancing," from caper (v.). The meaning "prank" is from 1840 via notion of "sportive action;" that of "crime" is from 1926. To cut capers "dance in a frolicsome way" is from c. 1600, from cut (v.) in the sense of "perform, execute."
"wicked in the extreme," c. 1600, from Latin nefarius "wicked, abominable, impious," from nefas "crime, wrong, impiety," from ne- "not" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + fas "right, lawful, divinely spoken," related to fari "to speak," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say." Related: Nefariously; nefariousness.
c. 1600, "the lower world, Hades, place of departed souls," also "the earth, the world below the skies," as distinguished from heaven. Similar formation in German unterwelt, Dutch onderwereld, Danish underverden. Meaning "lower level of society" is first recorded 1890; "criminals and organized crime collectively" is attested from 1900.
late 14c., envolupen, "be involved" (in sin, crime, etc.), from Old French envoleper, envoluper "envelop, cover; fold up, wrap up" (10c., Modern French envelopper), from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + voloper "wrap up," which is of uncertain origin, perhaps Celtic (see Gamillscheg, Diez) or Germanic ("Century Dictionary"). Literal sense is from 1580s. Related: Enveloped; enveloping.
"habit of relapsing" (into crime), 1882, from recidivist + -ism, modeled on French récidivisme, from récidiver. Recidivation as "a falling back, backsliding" in the spiritual sense is attested early 15c. (recidivacion), but OED has no examples after c. 1700. Recidivous "liable to backslide to a former condition or state" is a dictionary word from 1650s.
"act of stopping; state of being stopped," late 14c., from Anglo-French arest, Old French areste (n.) "stoppage, delay" (12c., Modern French arrêt), from arester "to stay, stop" (see arrest (v.)). Especially in law, "the taking of a person into custody, usually by warrant from authority, to answer an alleged or suspected crime" (early 15c.).
early 15c., "to convey (truth) in a fable," from Latin implicatus, past participle of implicare "to involve, entwine, entangle, embrace," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (from PIE root *en "in") + plicare "to fold" (from PIE root *plek- "to plait"). From c. 1600 as "intertwine, wreathe." Meaning "involve (someone) in a crime, charge, etc.; show (someone) to be involved" is from 1797. Related: Implicated; implicating.
"intense interrogation by police," 1900, probably a reference to Third Degree of master mason in Freemasonry (1772), the conferring of which included an interrogation ceremony. Third degree as a measure of severity of burns (most severe) is attested from 1866, from French (1832); in American English, as a definition of the seriousness of a particular type of crime (the least serious type) it is recorded from 1865.
"to procure unlawfully, to bribe to accomplish a wicked purpose," especially to induce a witness to perjury, "to lure (someone) to commit a crime," 1530s, from French suborner "seduce, instigate, bribe" (13c.) and directly from Latin subornare "employ as a secret agent, incite secretly," originally "equip, fit out, furnish," from sub "under; secretly" (see sub-) + ornare "equip," related to ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)). Related: Suborned; suborning.
mid-13c., "injury, wrong," from Old French tort "wrong, injustice, crime" (11c.), from Medieval Latin tortum "injustice," noun use of neuter of tortus "wrung, twisted," past participle of Latin torquere "turn, turn awry, twist, wring, distort" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Legal sense of "breach of a duty, whereby someone acquires a right of action for damages" is first recorded 1580s.