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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Tokyo's campaign and 2016 host Rio de Janeiro were both tainted by corruption allegations that are part of ongoing criminal investigations. BostonGlobe.com, 10 June 2021 Tokyo's campaign and 2016 host Rio de Janeiro were both tainted by corruption allegations that are part of ongoing criminal investigations. Graham Dunbar, Star Tribune, 10 June 2021 Federal prosecutors have described their aggressive efforts to pursue those linked to the Capitol attack as one of the largest criminal investigations in the history of the department. Trish Turner And Allison Pecorin, ABC News, 8 June 2021 In 1994, the state authorized police to gather DNA for criminal investigations with the Maryland DNA Collection Act. Washington Post, 7 June 2021 In 1994, the state authorized police to gather DNA for criminal investigations with the Maryland DNA Collection Act. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, 7 June 2021 Police can use it for criminal investigations, and consumers can use it to keep tabs on their teenage drivers, bicycles or pets. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, 5 June 2021 After more than three months behind closed doors, Donald Trump re-takes the political stage Saturday amid Republican turmoil, an extended social media ban, and criminal investigations into his past conduct. David Jackson, USA TODAY, 5 June 2021 The fraud charges were in an indictment that the Bronx district attorney obtained in 1984 in one of two criminal investigations that buffeted Mr. Donovan’s tenure as labor secretary, from February 1981 to March 1985. New York Times, 5 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the wrong person is convicted of a crime, an actual criminal is left free to commit additional crimes. Mike Hansen And John Kingrey, Star Tribune, 28 Dec. 2020 Investigators in California spent decades searching for an elusive criminal who terrorized Californians by committing at least 50 rapes and 13 murders. CBS News, 25 Apr. 2018 Noam Chomsky believes that Donald Trump is the worst criminal in human history. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 1 June 2021 In a mystery, the detective pursues the criminal while the reader chases after the author, trying to see beyond everything that’s on the page to get at what’s being hidden underneath. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 21 May 2021 According to Rastogi, as per case law, when conferring a death sentence a court must look at the criminal beyond the crime, to see whether there exists a possibility of reformation and rehabilitation. Esha Mitra, CNN, 24 Apr. 2021 Also top notch is fellow Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield, who plays the small-time Chicago criminal recruited by the FBI to infiltrate Hampton's inner circle. USA Today, 22 Apr. 2021 White supremacy, that’s the culprit — no matter what the color the criminal was. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, 24 Mar. 2021 If so, kicked out of school the pint-sized criminal was, put in quarantine for two weeks for inferior online learning. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 5 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for criminal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for criminal

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Criminal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criminal. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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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