The term felony, in some common law countries, means a serious crime. The word originates from English common law (from the French medieval word « félonie »), where felonies were originally crimes that involved confiscation of a convicted person’s land and goods. Other crimes were called misdemeanours. Many common law countries have now abolished the felony/misdemeanour distinction and replaced it with other distinctions, such as between indictable offences and summary offences. A felony is generally considered a crime of high seriousness, while a misdemeanour is not.
A misdemeanor (also spelled misdemeanour) is any “lesser” criminal act in some common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions (also known as minor, petty or summary offences) and regulatory offences. Many misdemeanors are punished with monetary fines.