criminal

adjective
crim·​i·​nal | \ ˈkri-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce criminal (audio) , ˈkrim-nəl\

Definition of criminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : relating to, involving, or being a crime criminal neglect a criminal organization
2 : relating to crime or to the prosecution of suspects in a crime criminal statistics brought criminal action the criminal justice system
3 : guilty of crime also : of or befitting a criminal a criminal mind
4 : disgraceful It's criminal how unfunny this comedy is.— Rick Bentley

criminal

noun

Definition of criminal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one who has committed a crime
2 : a person who has been convicted of a crime

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Other Words from criminal

Adjective

criminally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for criminal

Synonyms: Adjective

felonious, illegal, illegitimate, illicit, lawless, unlawful, wrongful

Synonyms: Noun

crook, culprit, lawbreaker, malefactor, miscreant, offender

Antonyms: Adjective

lawful, legal, legitimate

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Examples of criminal in a Sentence

Adjective

a history of criminal behavior The captain of the wrecked boat was accused of criminal negligence. The company brought criminal charges against her. It's criminal that the government is doing nothing to stop the problem.

Noun

car thieves, pickpockets, burglars, and other criminals
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The criminal complaint includes excerpts of communications between the New Yorker reporter and Mr. Fry on an encrypted app. Rebecca Davis O’brien, WSJ, "IRS Analyst Charged With Illegally Leaking Michael Cohen’s Bank Records," 21 Feb. 2019 An employee at Genesee Lake School on July 9 masturbated in a female colleague's classroom while looking at a photo of her, and stole items from her desk, according to a criminal complaint. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Genesee Lake School employee caught in sex act in female colleague's classroom, complaint says," 13 July 2018 Baring Vostok Capital Partners, one of Russia’s oldest private-equity firms, on Monday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in a criminal case concerning its American founder. Will Louch, WSJ, "Russia’s Baring Vostok Asks Putin to Intervene on Behalf of Detained Founder," 25 Feb. 2019 Chaplin and Thompson were convicted of third-degree assault in 2017 following an eight-week criminal trial, although the jury rejected more serious assault charges that had been filed against the men. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, "Brothers’ lawsuit against Olympia police officer who shot them can move forward, judge rules," 12 Feb. 2019 And the latest classic character to get a second go on the small screen is iconic criminal defense lawyer Perry Mason. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Perry Mason Is Getting a Reboot—Here's Everything We Know," 14 Jan. 2019 These exact same feelings followed me throughout both criminal trials. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Read Andrea Constand's Powerful Impact Statement About Bill Cosby," 25 Sep. 2018 The Border Patrol has typically not referred parents with children for criminal prosecution since the executive order was issued last month and instead kept families together for civil immigration processing. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Trump administration outlines plan to reunify remaining 2,500 separated children," 14 July 2018 Farmers who participate in this program and follow the rules are exempt from criminal prosecution, and products made from industrial hemp, including CBD, are lawful. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Six things you might be asking about hemp," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The six-episode series will tell the stories of some of the most notorious criminals in recent history. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Star Donnie Wahlberg Just Signed on to Host Another Show," 9 Mar. 2019 Recently, though, criminals have been using techniques to manipulate wireless carriers’ customer support services to hijack a victim’s phone number, gaining access to those codes and loads more information. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Stop Worrying About Digital Security," 8 Mar. 2019 Because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people who have lots of problems — and drugs — pouring into our country. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The fiery meeting between Trump, Schumer, and Pelosi about the border wall, explained," 11 Dec. 2018 Shepherd Book knows more about the criminal underworld than a preacher should, the mercenary Jayne Cobb is trigger-happy, and the crew’s constant bad luck lands them further and further into debt with criminals. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Big Damn Hero is a familiar trip back to Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe," 20 Nov. 2018 The combination of a penchant for compromising behavior, a willingness to work closely with criminals, and a desire to protect aspects of his privacy makes him the ideal blackmail target. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 Though criminals can now turn to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, those are also easier to track than cash, since every cryptocurrency transaction is recorded digitally. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 In one of the most sophisticated uses of BGP hijacking yet, criminals used the technique to generate $29 million in fraudulent ad revenue, in part by taking control of IP addresses belonging to the US Air Force and other reputable organizations. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "How 3ve’s BGP hijackers eluded the Internet—and made $29M," 21 Dec. 2018 What’s more, Sater’s father — a mob boss in his own right — had connections to other criminals, and one of his associates helped protect Sater’s business. Alex Ward, Vox, "Felix Sater, the spy, criminal, and mafia-linked business executive tied to Trump, explained," 6 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'criminal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of criminal

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for criminal

Adjective

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French criminal, borrowed from Latin crīminālis, from crīmin-, crīmen "indictment, crime" + -ālis -al entry 1

Noun

derivative of criminal entry 1

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Statistics for criminal

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for criminal

The first known use of criminal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for criminal

criminal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of criminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: involving illegal activity : relating to crime
: relating to laws that describe crimes rather than to laws about a person's rights
: morally wrong

criminal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of criminal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who has committed a crime or who has been proved to be guilty of a crime by a court

criminal

adjective
crim·​i·​nal | \ ˈkri-mə-nᵊl How to pronounce criminal (audio) \

Kids Definition of criminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being or guilty of an act that is unlawful, foolish, or wrong
2 : relating to unlawful acts or their punishment criminal law

Other Words from criminal

criminally \ -​nᵊl-​ē \ adverb

criminal

noun

Kids Definition of criminal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who has committed an unlawful act

criminal

adjective
crim·​i·​nal | \ ˈkri-mə-nəl How to pronounce criminal (audio) \

Legal Definition of criminal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : relating to, involving, or being a crime criminal neglect criminal conduct
2 : relating to crime or its prosecution brought a criminal action criminal code — compare civil sense 4, penal

criminal

noun

Legal Definition of criminal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one who has committed a crime
2 : a person who has been convicted of a crime

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More from Merriam-Webster on criminal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with criminal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for criminal

Spanish Central: Translation of criminal

Nglish: Translation of criminal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of criminal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on criminal

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