Definition of culprit
1 : one accused of or charged with a crime The culprit pleaded “not guilty.”
2 : one guilty of a crime or a fault The culprit expressed remorse at his sentencing.
3 : the source or cause of a problem Lack of exercise and poor diet are the main culprits in heart disease.
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Examples of culprit in a Sentence
The police eventually located the culprits.
the police caught the culprit a mere two blocks from the scene of the crime
Recent Examples of culprit from the Web
The real culprit was a malignant tumor in his left kidney that was pressing on nerves from his lower spine.
To control cholera outbreaks, researchers need faster ways of detecting the bacterial culprits.
But his surgeon wondered whether the culprit was a bone spur that was seen on an MRI impinging on a nerve.
This raised concerns that someone is looking for ways to disrupt the U.S. electric grid, and there are signs that Russia may be the culprit.
The comment section in the conservative Daily Caller filled up with demands that the culprit be deported.
This is part of the stop-start cycle of diets and exercise, and the scale is often the culprit in our lack of followthrough.
The culprit was fireworks — possibly legal, possibly not — that landed on the second-floor balcony, said Char Jackson, spokeswoman for the Boise Fire Department.
Not all on the pitchers The pitchers aren't the only culprits.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'culprit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
We would be culpable if we didn't clearly explain the origins behind culprit. Yes, it is related to culpable, which itself derives from Latin culpare, meaning "to blame," via Middle English and Anglo-French. But the etymology of culprit is not so straightforward. In Anglo-French, culpable meant "guilty," and this was abbreviated "cul." in legal briefs and texts. Culprit was formed by combining this abbreviation with prest, prit, meaning "ready"-that is, ready to prove an accusation. Literally, then, a culprit was one who was ready to be proven guilty. English then borrowed the word for one accused of a wrongdoing.
CULPRIT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of culprit for English Language Learners
: a person who has committed a crime or done something wrong
CULPRIT Defined for Kids
Definition of culprit for Students
: a person accused of, charged with, or guilty of a crime or fault
Seen and Heard
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