Crime doesn't pay

This page is about the saying "Crime doesn't pay"

American English

Possible meaning:
If you engage in illegal activities, you will not make money in the long run.

crime (noun): activity that is against the law | pay (verb): be profitable or advantageous

Origin: First used in the USA at least as early as 1927, this saying became the slogan of the USA's FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the American comic-strip detective Dick Tracy created by cartoonist Chester Gould in 1931.


This is typically used in American English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz

The saying "Crime doesn't pay" suggests that you can make money by

a. stealing

b. working

c. informing

Saying of the Day

Contributor: Josef Essberger