also misdemeanour, late 15c., "ill-behavior, evil conduct, fault," but almost always used in the legal sense of "an indictable offense of less grave nature than a felony;" from mis- (1) "wrong" + Middle English demenure "conduct, management" (see demeanor). Related: Misdemeanors; misdemeanours. Misdemean "behave ill, conduct (oneself) improperly" is from French (and from mis- (2)), but it is attested only from 1560s and is too late to be the source of this word.
1620s, "a sentinel," agent noun from round (n.) in the "circuit performed by a sentinel" sense, on the notion of "one who makes the rounds." Sense of "chronic loafer, drunkard, or criminal" is by 1854, American English, on notion of one who "goes the round" of misdemeanor, arrest, trial, imprisonment, and release. Rounders, a baseball-like game in England played with a small bat, is attested by that name from 1828, from the player "rounding" the bases after the ball is hit.
As a class of crime in common law, also from c. 1300, from Anglo-French. The exact definition changed over time and place, and even the distinction from misdemeanor or trespass is not always observed. In old use often a crime involving forfeiture of lands, goods, or a fee or a crime punishable by death. Variously used in the U.S.; often the sense is "crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary."
"a transgression or offense," in civil law, a misdemeanor, 1520s, from Latin delictum "fault, offense, crime," neuter singular of past participle of delinquere "to fail; be wanting, fall short; offend," from de- "completely" (see de-) + linquere "to leave" (from PIE root *leikw- "to leave"). Related: Delictable "criminal, wicked," early 15c. Phrase in flagrant delict translates Latin in flagrante delicto.
Delicts are commonly understood as slighter offenses which do not immediately affect the public peace, but which imply an obligation on the part of the offender to make an atonement to the public by suffering punishment, and also to make reparation for the injury committed The term delinquency has the same signification. [Century Dictionary]
"moral fault, wickedness," c. 1300, from Old French vice "fault, failing, defect, irregularity, misdemeanor" (12c.), from Latin vitium "defect, offense, blemish, imperfection," in both physical and moral senses (in Medieval Latin also vicium; source also of Italian vezzo "usage, entertainment"), which is of uncertain origin.
Vice squad "special police unit targeting prostitution, narcotics, gambling, etc.," is attested from 1905, American English. Vice anglais "fetish for corporal punishment," literally "the English vice," is attested from 1942, from French. In Old French, the seven deadly sins were les set vices.
Horace and Aristotle have already spoken to us about the virtues of their forefathers and the vices of their own times, and through the centuries, authors have talked the same way. If all this were true, we would be bears today. [Montesquieu, "Pensées"]