Flagrante Delicto

In flagrante delicto

[in fluh-gran-tee di-lik-toh]
In flagrante delicto (Latin: "in the blazing [progressing] offence [misdeed]") or sometimes simply in flagrante (Latin: "while blazing [during]") is a legal term used to indicate that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offence (compare corpus delicti). The colloquial "caught red-handed" or "caught in the act" are English equivalents.

French Economist Frederic Bastiat, in his "Parable of the Broken Window" (a satire regarding those who would say that economic benefits accrue to the community because of the new transactions that are "created" upon the breaking of a window), said that "this formula of condolence contains a whole theory that it is a good idea for us to expose, flagrante delicto, in this very simple case...."

The Latin term is sometimes used colloquially as a euphemism for a couple being caught in the act of sexual intercourse, as it is used in the film Clue; in modern usage the intercourse need not be adulterous or illicit.

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