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 film will shoot during Riverdale's brief hiatus, and Camila plays a young woman with medical ambitions who gets drawn into a criminal investigation with her husband. Alanna Bennett, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes Is Taking It All in Stride," 1 May 2019 Although saying goodbye to the finest members of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit will be undoubtedly difficult, the criminal procedural is ensuring an action-packed, star-studded, can't-miss season 15. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "The Final Season of 'Criminal Minds' Will Be a 'Tearjerker' and We're Not Ready," 27 Apr. 2019 Others charged in the criminal investigation included SAT and ACT test administrators, an exam proctor, college coaches, a college administrator, and 33 parents, according to CNN. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Internet Is Savagely Dragging Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman for Their College Bribery Scandal," 12 Mar. 2019 Marijuana is coming out of this criminal underworld and onto the fashion scene. Jessica Matlin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The New High Society," 18 Apr. 2019 Peter Armbruster, who served as the company’s CFO for about seven years through April 2017, was charged in criminal and civil complaints along with Mark Wogsland and Bret Naggs, former controllers for the company’s truckload segment. ... Maria Armental, WSJ, "Three Ex-Roadrunner Transportation Executives Charged With Accounting Fraud," 3 Apr. 2019 Each six-minute episode is dedicated to a notorious female criminal from history, and the first one is particularly interesting. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Keke Palmer’s New True-Crime Show Queenpins Is About to Be Your Obsession," 29 Mar. 2019 Actually, what transpired on the island of Great Exuma that spring was much darker, more criminal, and more devastating to the lives of many than most of us realized. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Netflix’s Fyre Is a Story You Have to See to Believe," 15 Jan. 2019 Lori Loughlin, the other famous Hollywood persona in the slew of parents named originally in the criminal filing, was not named as having taken a deal. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Felicity Huffman Will Plead Guilty to Charges in Operation Varsity Blues and Says She Betrayed Her Daughter," 8 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Everything started out as normal with the BAU hunting down a criminal who was pitting his victims against each other. Megan Stein, Country Living, "‘Criminal Minds’ Dropped a Major Bombshell During the Finale and People Are Furious," 7 Feb. 2019 According to AWF’s latest figures, of the 27 poaching busts made in Tanzania in the past 12 months, 22 have been attributed to canine teams turning criminals over to the Tanzanian Wildlife Authority. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 2018 Though 95 percent of those relocated are criminals, only 10 percent re-offend, an admirably low recidivism rate. Popular Mechanics, "How the Witness Protection Program Decides Where To Send People," 8 Feb. 2019 People see pictures and names on TV of criminals, and want the same attention. Courtney Lund O’neil, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Serial Killer, a Receipt, and My Mom: Haunted by the Murder of 33 Boys," 31 Oct. 2018 In Florida, the Democrat nominee for governor wants to abolish ICE and release hundreds of criminals onto our streets. Fox News, "Jordan, Meadows ask Trump to declassify Carter Page docs," 6 Sep. 2018 Advocates argued that putting the limit at 21 would encourage a black market and drive youths into the hands of criminals. Rob Gillies, Houston Chronicle, "Canada is now the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana," 20 June 2018 Advocates argued that putting the limit at 21 would encourage a black market and drive youths into the hands of criminals. Rob Gillies, Anchorage Daily News, "Canadian Senate passes weed bill but legalization delayed," 20 June 2018 Advocates argued that putting the limit at 21 would encourage a black market and drive youths into the hands of criminals. Rob Gillies, BostonGlobe.com, "Canada’s Senate passes bill to legalize weed — but there will be a wait," 20 June 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

12 May 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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