Majus continet in se minus

Majus continet in se minus

Literal Meaning

The greater contains the less.


It is useful maxim in criminal law to assert that a greater charge includes any lesser offenses. Thus, in criminal law, if a person is indicted for a offence which comprises other minor offences of the same category, he may be convicted for a minor offence also.




If a person on an indictment for murder may be convicted of manslaughter.

Case References

People of the State of New York v Psaty & Fuhrman,240 NYS 2d 830 (1963)

In this case Justice William Ringel mentioned the people contend that the power to revoke includes the lesser power to suspend the permit (omne majus continet in se minus).

State of New Jersey v Andrew Magai ,232 A. 2d 477 (1967)

The court held that it is fundamental that a party indicted for a crime may be convicted of any offense of a lower grade, provided such lower offense is included within the description of the indictment.

“This rule of court, is declaratory of the maxim, omne majus continet in se minus, the greater contains the less.”

Edited by Sree Ramya

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje