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

Czeck is facing charges of criminal vehicular homicide and leaving the scene without calling authorities or lending aid, according to RPD Chief of Police Mitchell Scott. Jessica Spitz /, NBC News, "Mother and daughter killed after boulder falls off back of truck in Minnesota," 13 July 2018 Glamour: What's next for you on that topic of criminal justice reform? Abby Gardner, Glamour, "How a Former Glamour College Woman of the Year Helped Break the Alice Johnson Story," 13 July 2018 The police statement indicates reporting a false crime is a misdemeanor in Minnesota, but a criminal defense law expert told KARE that prosecution can be difficult. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Viral Video Shows Black Boys Detained at a Park in Minnesota After 911 Caller Claimed They Had Weapons," 13 July 2018 President Trump faces at least four allegations of criminal misconduct. Doj, USA TODAY, "Live stream: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein holds press conference," 13 July 2018 On Thursday, Manafort was moved to a jail in Alexandria, Va., to await his criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin later this month. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Ahead of Trump's meeting with Putin, Mueller indicts 12 Russians for hacking DNC emails," 13 July 2018 Federal prosecutors have levied criminal charges against a half-dozen Insys executives and the company’s billionaire founder, John Kapoor. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Another lawsuit accuses Overland Park doctor of kickbacks from opioid spray maker," 13 July 2018 Leon was arrested Wednesday morning in College Station and charged with criminal solicitation of capital murder. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Third suspect in Texas teen's alleged murder-for-hire plot of father is arrested," 13 July 2018 Also, being in the U.S. without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Woman’s MeToo moments lead to despair," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When immigrant families are thrown into detention camps together, children are subjected to a litany of traumas and treated like criminals. Callie Beusman, The Cut, "The Lasting Trauma of Family Detention," 6 July 2018 Mr Museveni had previously complained about criminals infiltrating the police. The Economist, "Uganda’s politicised police force is not reducing crime," 5 July 2018 In Zhengzhou, police were happy to explain how just the thought of the facial recognition glasses could get criminals to confess. Paul Mozur, New York Times, "Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras," 8 July 2018 Answer: Credit freezes remain the best way to prevent new account fraud, which is when criminals open up bogus credit accounts in your name. Liz Weston, latimes.com, "One spouse's debts might haunt the other after death," 8 July 2018 When a victim responds to a call, email or clicks on a pop-up, criminals will offer to help fix the victim's technical issues, leading them to request remote access to the victim's device. Angela Forburger, azcentral, "FBI: Big increase in tech-support fraud in Arizona this year," 3 July 2018 Webb was a career criminal believed to be in Pennsylvania planning to rob a jewelry store, authorities said. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "State officials smash multimillion-dollar gaming ring; gangster’s stepson was kingpin, prosecutors say," 28 June 2018 It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. NBC News, "Canada's Senate passes marijuana bill but legalization delayed," 20 June 2018 When the cashier rings up the item, the criminal reveals his true intentions along with a gun. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "A robber stuck his fingers in the register. That's when the clerk made a quick move," 9 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

10 Nov 2018

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 \

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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Comments on criminal

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