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 There were 50 criminal homicides as of July 2 last year, compared to 48 in the first half of 2020 for a 4 percent decrease. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Birmingham crime down double digits in 1st half of 2020, police report," 5 July 2020 The report also found that as many as one in four police departments across the U.S. can access facial-recognition tools, and many use them in routine criminal investigations. Malkia Devich-cyril, The Atlantic, "Defund Facial Recognition," 5 July 2020 Authorities have stepped up investigations by using prescriber databases to build criminal cases against physicians and peer into their practices like never before. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Charges against pain doctor reveal undercurrent of anger, angst among patients at federal government," 4 July 2020 In several interviews, Ms. Cristal said that her father came into conflict with a criminal gang and fled with his family to Montevideo, Uruguay. William Grimes, BostonGlobe.com, "Linda Cristal, who starred in ‘The High Chaparral,’ at 89," 4 July 2020 South America’s largest country by landmass and economy is also a flashpoint for criminal organizations, narcotics trafficking, and terrorism financing. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "EXCLUSIVE: Southern Command rebuilds intelligence relationship with Brazil years after Snowden damage," 4 July 2020 Kruse was arraigned Thursday and charged with criminal threats, child endangerment and false imprisonment with hate crime enhancements. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Man faces hate crime enhancements after threats against 12-year-old Black youth in SF," 4 July 2020 State authorities also sent letters Thursday to every employer — about 350,000 businesses, — warning that failure to implement the face coverings order could result in fines and potential criminal prosecution. Washington Post, "California governor: Wear masks, avoid July 4th gatherings," 3 July 2020 On June 3, Abbott called on Texans to wear masks but signed an executive order banning local governments from imposing fines or criminal penalties on people who don't wear them in public. Fox News, "Abbott issues statewide order requiring Texans to wear face coverings in public spaces," 3 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Diamond Knot Killer was a nickname given to a supposed third criminal who used complicated knots to tie his victims up. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "We Finally Know The End Of The Golden State Killer Story," 5 July 2020 None of the reports so far made public about the incident indicate there would have been any reason to believe Ambler was a dangerous criminal. Tony Plohetski, USA TODAY, "Texas police chase ends in death as Live PD cameras roll. "I can't breathe," the man cries," 9 June 2020 In early May, a press release from Harrisburg University claimed that two professors and a graduate student had developed a facial-recognition program that could predict whether someone would be a criminal. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "An Algorithm That ‘Predicts’ Criminality Based on a Face Sparks a Furor," 24 June 2020 In the film, Eliza Scanlen stars as Milla, a teenage girl with a terminal illness, who begins to fall for Moses (Toby Wallace), who besides being older is also a drug addict and petty criminal. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: Celebrate with ‘Miss Juneteenth’," 19 June 2020 His lawyer argued that if prosecutors were concerned about his client being dangerous and a habitual criminal, a plea agreement would not have been offered. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Maricopa County jail inmate tests COVID-19 positive after lawyer warns sheriff of symptoms," 16 June 2020 In the strangest irony, the methods used to identify the criminal were essentially versions of the physical anthropology that Mengele had been trained in. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Revisiting Mengele’s Malignant “Race Science”," 15 June 2020 He was subsequently charged with resisting arrest, assault on a police officer and criminal damaging. cleveland, "Sex film leads to domestic dispute: Richmond Heights Police Blotter," 11 June 2020 Stowers said after seeing an article from the Daily Mail about a thief, which included images, Schroeder and Doute called the cops to identify Stowers as the criminal. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "'Vanderpump Rules' fires four amid cry for racial equality: Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute are out," 9 June 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

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Criminal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criminal. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for criminal

criminal

adjective
How to pronounce criminal (audio)

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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