criminal

adjective
crim·​i·​nal | \ˈkri-mə-nᵊl, 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 new criminal charges are on top of a complaint brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission in January 2018, around the same time that the Texas Department of Banking issued a related cease-and-desist order to AriseBank. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Feds: AriseBank duped investors out of over $4M in cryptocurrency scam," 29 Nov. 2018 Though models differ, all reject the involvement of the criminal-justice system, choosing instead to rely on community support networks and mediators. Kim Tran, Teen Vogue, "Transformative Justice, Explained," 15 Nov. 2018 Prosecutors are traditionally focused on courtrooms and guilty verdicts, but their roles are changing amid criminal-justice reforms, a changing crime rate and increased public scrutiny. Lindsay Whitehurst, Fox News, "Prosecutors looking beyond courtroom amid reform, scrutiny," 28 Sep. 2018 The local federal court maintains a panel of attorneys for appointment in criminal cases. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Judge refuses to appoint Uresti’s lawyer of choice for appeal," 12 July 2018 Robert Burns, the Wyandotte County judge overseeing the criminal case, was in agreement that the slide could come down. Steve Vockrodt And Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Schlitterbahn to tear down Verruckt water slide in KCK where young boy died in 2016," 12 July 2018 In the criminal case, defense lawyers are moving to block the release of the statement Cruz gave to investigators when he was arrested. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Should public get to see school district report on Nikolas Cruz? Broward judge to decide," 11 July 2018 Indictments only represent one side in a criminal case and the defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky coal mine officials charged with cheating on key safety tests," 11 July 2018 The position is one of the most significant in the Justice Department, with the assistant attorney general having oversight of criminal cases involving public corruption, financial fraud, computer hacking, drug trafficking and other major crimes. NBC News, "Senate confirms Brian Benczkowski, justice official who worked for Russian bank," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

People mainly from Honduras but also from El Salvador and Guatemala formed the caravan to Tijuana, seeking safety in numbers while crossing Mexico to avoid criminals and the fees demanded by the gangs that prey on migrants. Marko Alvarez, The Seattle Times, "Border patrol: More families cross illegally to San Diego," 4 Dec. 2018 So much so that he has been trusted to assist in drafting legislation that law enforcement must follow while investigating suspected criminals and when searching for missing persons. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Convicted tax fraudster sues CNBC for defamation, says he’s not a “hacker”," 19 Nov. 2018 The lawsuit by mostly Democratic state attorneys general argued that such weapons could be used by criminals or terrorists. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "3D-printed gun activist Cody Wilson accused of sex with minor is jailed in US," 23 Sep. 2018 The sign that hangs from the back of the bus reads: criminals and rapists aboard this bus. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 Another commenter pined for the days when criminals were more professional. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "He wore underwear for the break-in — but not in the right place, video shows," 12 July 2018 The documentaries offer a glimpse into the breadth of the drug trade across the economic spectrum and into the criminal and commercial sides of addiction. Jeffrey Fleishman, latimes.com, "Documentary films explore the despair of America's heroin and opioid epidemic," 6 July 2018 Parliament added modern slavery to this list to prevent British criminals escaping prosecution in countries with less stringent anti-trafficking laws, and because the crime is often spread across borders. The Economist, "Britain’s new law against modern slavery secures a rare conviction," 5 July 2018 To continue reading this story, TRY IT NOW Print subscribers get a password for your existing account here Yes, there will always be jerks, criminals and psychopaths online, as in real life. Dwight Silverman, San Antonio Express-News, "How to be a good internet citizen," 3 July 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

8 Dec 2018

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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 \

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 \

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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