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

Unrest continued in Hong Kong over a law that would allow criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China. The Economist, "Politics this week," 20 July 2019 But the search warrant indicates that federal investigators are probing connections to possible criminal acts by some in Madigan’s inner circle. Ray Long, chicagotribune.com, "FBI raids downstate home of longtime ComEd lobbyist who is close confidant of Speaker Madigan," 18 July 2019 One of the counts — running a continuing criminal enterprise — already carried a mandatory life sentence. Catherine Kim, Vox, "Vox Sentences: A global health emergency in the DRC," 18 July 2019 The lesser state penalty was imposed after federal prosecutors in Florida prepared but did not submit a criminal indictment that could have brought tougher punishment upon a conviction. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Mansion or jail for Jeffrey Epstein? Judge makes decision on bail today," 18 July 2019 Marquez was sentenced to five years incarceration, all suspended except for time served at the Carroll County Detention Center Dec. 30, 2018 to to May 21, 2019, according to a May 21 criminal hearing document. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Mount Airy man serves 143 days for burglary, sentenced to five years probation for sex offense, burglary," 18 July 2019 Police arrested Pollard that night on three preliminary counts of reckless homicide and five preliminary counts of criminal recklessness causing injury. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "'They were all loved dearly': The tragic crash that killed Alanna Koons and her twins," 18 July 2019 The House also voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt in a subpoena dispute related to the administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for July 18: Politics, Puerto Rico, cops' social posts, Kevin Spacey," 18 July 2019 And the following day, Portwood was further charged with domestic battery, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old, according to Page Six. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Teen Mom OG's Amber Portwood Posts Cryptic Message About Cheating After Arrest," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gable’s lawyers also Tuesday filed a motion to vacate the nearly nine year federal sentence issued in 1991 after he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced as a career criminal. oregonlive.com, "Prosecutors clear way for Frank Gable’s potential release from prison soon, under federal supervision," 25 June 2019 Scheiner, the sportswriter for the college paper, is now a white-collar criminal defense attorney in Houston. Gregory Korte, USA Today, "The rise of Rick Singer: How the mastermind of college admissions scandal built an empire on lies, exploited a broken system," 19 June 2019 Researchers continue to wrangle with CRISPR while others debate the ethics of catching criminals with public genealogy data. Jessica Mcdonald, Discover Magazine, "The State of Science, 2019: Genetics," 16 June 2019 Amy, this is the kind of weapon a criminal would possess! Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Dad is horrified to learn there’s a gun in the house," 13 June 2019 While individuals are frequently attacked, criminals increasingly extort institutions that have deeper pockets and readily pay the ransom to minimize disruption to their operations. Renee Dudley, ProPublica, "The Trade Secret Firms That Promised High-Tech Ransomware Solutions Almost Always Just Pay the Hackers," 15 May 2019 There have been warnings to residents about the potential for criminals to infiltrate caravans (echoing statements from the U.S. administration) and suggestions that there are kidnappers and organ traffickers in the mix. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "Mexico to US: You think caravans are tough for you?," 11 Apr. 2019 But everyone on the island knows everyone and hears everything, and criminals are in charge. Francine Prose, Harper's magazine, "Down and Out in the Peloponnesus," 10 Apr. 2019 Or prisoners may learn from other prisoners how to be better criminals. David J. Harding, Scientific American, "Do Prisons Make Us Safer?," 21 June 2019

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

21 Jul 2019

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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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