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

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 Caldwell had no criminal record, and died in 2003 at the age of 59, according to his obituary in the Billings Gazette. Matthew Brown, The Seattle Times, "DNA test solves 45-year-old double-murder mystery in Montana," 25 Mar. 2019 His victims, all of whom are black and many of whom had criminal records, remain ghosts lost in the coverage. Allison Mcgevna, Glamour, "A Year Later, Is the #MeToo Movement Stuck in Hollywood?," 5 Oct. 2018 Police say Escobar has a long criminal record in the U.S. Federal officials say he has been deported to his native El Salvador six times. Fox News, "Latest: Foul play against suspect's missing uncle, aunt eyed," 28 Sep. 2018 The criminal complaint includes excerpts of communications between the New Yorker reporter and Mr. Fry on an encrypted app. Rebecca Davis O’brien, WSJ, "IRS Analyst Charged With Illegally Leaking Michael Cohen’s Bank Records," 21 Feb. 2019 An employee at Genesee Lake School on July 9 masturbated in a female colleague's classroom while looking at a photo of her, and stole items from her desk, according to a criminal complaint. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Genesee Lake School employee caught in sex act in female colleague's classroom, complaint says," 13 July 2018 Baring Vostok Capital Partners, one of Russia’s oldest private-equity firms, on Monday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in a criminal case concerning its American founder. Will Louch, WSJ, "Russia’s Baring Vostok Asks Putin to Intervene on Behalf of Detained Founder," 25 Feb. 2019 Chaplin and Thompson were convicted of third-degree assault in 2017 following an eight-week criminal trial, although the jury rejected more serious assault charges that had been filed against the men. Mike Carter, The Seattle Times, "Brothers’ lawsuit against Olympia police officer who shot them can move forward, judge rules," 12 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Advocates argued that putting the limit at 21 would encourage a black market and drive youths into the hands of criminals. Bob Giles, chicagotribune.com, "Canadian senate passes weed bill but legalization delayed," 19 June 2018 Earlier stories: Warren Police Commissioner Bill Dwyer said the investigation is ongoing and reward money is available for tips leading to the arrest of criminals involved. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Why did Ram truck thief leave Bible behind?," 14 May 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

14 Apr 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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