It's the drama dialogue and background is the police office.

The detective said like this about the suspect.

Name. Klaus Goedecke. Size twelve wide. Rapidly improving rap sheet. Recently made a sizable cash deposit

In this sentence, what is the meaning of "Rapidly improving"? I know rap sheet means criminal report.

  • 1
    The word "improving" is meant ironically.
    – TimR
    May 10, 2016 at 11:12
  • @TRomano Thanks, but I still don't get it - Rapidly Ironically rap sheet. Does it means he is ex-convict?
    – julialee
    May 10, 2016 at 11:16
  • 4
    As if the rap sheet were his CV. It is "improving" in the sense that new crimes are being added to it, as new jobs are added to a resume during the course of one's career. It is sarcasm. (I'm not suggesting that you substitute the word "ironically" for the word "improving".)
    – TimR
    May 10, 2016 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


You need to look at No. 2 definition of intransitive verb:

to make useful additions or amendments

A crime can't be a useful addition unless it is used in a sarcastic or ironic sense as TRomano commented.

"Improving" in the sentence could be replaced by "growing" or "increasing", but it won't have such a sarcastic or ironic sense.


The mention of "Rapidly improving" in a positive reference could mean:

Pardoned/ Exonerated/ Expungment of a crime from the rap sheet.

  • It's not what we would typically expect, but it could be used that way in the correct context, and I'm glad you pointed it out. I think we would be more likely to say "rapidly shrinking rap sheet" instead of improving in that situation, although there are a lot of different ways it could be phrased, especially in a drama.
    – ColleenV
    May 10, 2016 at 17:59

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