AskDefine | Define solicit

Dictionary Definition



1 make a solicitation or entreaty for something; request urgently or persistently; "Henry IV solicited the Pope for a divorce"; "My neighbor keeps soliciting money for different charities" [syn: beg, tap]
2 make amorous advances towards; "John is courting Mary" [syn: woo, court, romance]
3 approach with an offer of sexual favors; "he was solicited by a prostitute"; "The young man was caught soliciting in the park" [syn: hook, accost]
4 incite, move, or persuade to some act of lawlessness or insubordination; "He was accused of soliciting his colleagues to destroy the documents"
5 make a solicitation or petition for something desired; "She is too shy to solicit"

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old (and modern) French solliciter, from Latin sollicitare ‘stir, disturb’, later ‘look after’, from sollicitusagitated’, from sollus ‘whole’ + past participle of ciere ‘put in motion’.



  1. To persistently endeavor to obtain an object, or bring about an event.
  2. To woo; to court.
  3. To persuade or incite one to commit some act, especially illegal or sexual behavior.
  4. To offer to perform sexual activity, especially when for a payment.
  5. To make a petition.
  6. To disturb or trouble; to harass.

Extensive Definition

In the United States, solicitation is a crime; it is an inchoate offense that consists of a person offering money or something else of value in order to incite or induce another to commit a crime with the specific intent that the person solicited commit the crime. The term 'solicitation' always implies some sort of commercial element (payment). Local ordinances that forbid solicitation may prevent door-to-door sales, but they cannot exclude Jehovah's Witnesses, political candidates or others who advocate a position, but do not offer or request money. In the other common law countries, the situation is different:
  • where the substantive offense is not committed, the charges are drawn from incitement, conspiracy, and attempt;
  • where the substantive offense is committed, the charges are drawn from conspiracy, counseling and procuring (see accessories), and the substantive offenses as joint principals (see common purpose).
It is not necessary that the person actually commit the crime, nor is it necessary that the person solicited be willing or able to commit the crime (such as if the "solicitee" were an undercover police officer).
For example, if Alice commands Bob to assault Charlie and Alice intends for Bob to assault Charlie, then Alice is guilty of solicitation. However, if Alice commands Bob to assault Charlie without intending that an actual crime be committed (perhaps believing that Charlie has given consent), then there is no solicitation.
An interesting twist on solicitation occurs when a third party that the solicitor did not intend to receive the incitement overhears the request to the original solicitee and unbeknownst to the solicitor, commits the target offense. In a minority of jurisdictions in the United States, this situation would still be considered solicitation even though the defendant never intended the person that committed the crime to have done so.
Solicitation is also subject to the doctrine of merger, which applies in situations where the person solicited actually commits the crime. In such a situation, both Alice and Bob could be charged with the crime as accomplices, which would preclude conviction under solicitation; a person cannot be punished for both solicitation and the crime solicited.
Note that solicitation can apply to just about any criminal act. There are also many statutes for specific solicitation crimes. For example, solicitation of murder is often considered a capital offense, and has its own statute. Other examples might be solicitation of prostitution, or solicitation of a bribe.

See also

solicit in Czech: Solicitace
solicit in German: Anstiftung
solicit in Hebrew: הסתה

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accost, address, angle for, appeal to, apply, approach, ask, ask for, beg, beseech, bespeak, bid for, call, call on, call upon, canvass, challenge, claim, court, crave, demand, desire, drum, entice, entreat, exact, fish for, go, hustle, implore, importune, look for, lure, make a pass, make advances, make an overture, overture, pander to, petition, pop the question, postulate, pray, proposition, refer, request, require, requisition, resort, seek, sue, sue for, supplicate, throw a pass, turn, woo
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