delinquent

1 of 2

noun

de·​lin·​quent di-ˈliŋ-kwənt How to pronounce delinquent (audio)
-ˈlin-
: a usually young person who regularly performs illegal or immoral acts

delinquent

2 of 2

adjective

1
: offending by neglect or violation of duty or of law
… were clearly delinquent in not immediately alerting Western Europe to the accident …Richard Wilson
2
: being overdue in payment
a delinquent charge account
… efforts to crack down on parents delinquent in child-support payments …Todd S. Purdum
3
: of, relating to, or characteristic of people who regularly perform illegal or immoral acts : marked by delinquency (see delinquency sense 1b)
delinquent behavior
delinquently adverb

Examples of delinquent in a Sentence

Noun a group of violent delinquents Adjective a school for delinquent children His delinquent behavior could lead to more serious problems. The town is trying to collect delinquent taxes.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Along the same lines, are properties being cited for code violations, or is a property owner a tax delinquent? Nick Rockel, Fortune, 19 Mar. 2024 But when her December 2023 bill arrived on Thursday, the $573 charge had reappeared — and her account was marked as delinquent. Natalie Wallington, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 State law otherwise places no lower limit on charging a child as a juvenile delinquent. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2024 In those settings, delinquents can access help for issues with mental health, substance abuse and other concerns. Elliot Hughes, Journal Sentinel, 11 Mar. 2024 In juvenile cases, after a conviction, a delinquent can be placed in a relatively wide range of facilities and services: group homes, placement with relatives, in- or out-of-state residential treatment centers or treatment foster homes, according to Paul Rifelj. Elliot Hughes, Journal Sentinel, 11 Mar. 2024 Desperate to find the truth behind a family secret, young Aboriginal delinquent Robyn finally escapes from detention and ends up teaming up with awkward teenager Gidge. John Hopewell, Variety, 26 Feb. 2024 The 14-year-old is charged with first-degree murder, child abuse and being a delinquent in possession of a firearm, officials said. Nadine El-Bawab, ABC News, 27 Dec. 2023 The series stars popular pop star turned actor Takumi Kitamura as the manga’s iconic cool-kid protagonist, Yusuke, a high school delinquent turned undercover investigator of the supernatural. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Dec. 2023
Adjective
The charity was listed as legally delinquent at the time the donation was made, the Union-Tribune reported. Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Apr. 2024 Advertisement Gone are the days when the threat of physical violence was a common worry for delinquent customers, but there are other forms of coercion. David Wharton, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2024 The government has the opportunity to collect debts through the Treasury Offset Program, which in fiscal year 2023 recovered more than $3.8 billion in federal and state delinquent debts. Danielle Chemtob, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Taxpayers have until Monday to pay off delinquent property taxes, get into a payment plan or apply for an extension because of a financial hardship. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 28 Mar. 2024 Since a tax-lien sale program on unpaid property taxes expired in March 2022 and wasn’t reauthorized by City Council, officials say delinquent owners have no incentive to pay their debts. Martin Z. Braun, Fortune, 28 Mar. 2024 Engagement in delinquent behavior is common, specifically having a fascination with setting fires and harming or torturing animals. Ashlyn Messier, Fox News, 21 Mar. 2024 Otto said authorities were looking into what kind of eviction notice was being served, adding there are many types, including for rent or delinquent taxes. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 1 Mar. 2024 Children aged 10 and 11 who are adjudicated delinquent are held in private facilities. Laura A. Bischoff, The Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'delinquent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

earlier, "person failing in a duty, offender," borrowed from Middle French delinquant, noun derivative from present participle of delinquer "to commit an offense," borrowed from Latin dēlinquere "to be lacking, fall short of an approved standard, misbehave, commit (an offense)" — more at delinquent entry 2

Adjective

borrowed from Latin dēlinquent-, dēlinquens, present participle of dēlinquere "to be lacking, fall short of an approved standard, misbehave, commit (an offense)," from dē- de- + linquō, linquere (perfect līquī) "to go away from, leave, leave behind, abandon, desist from," going back to Indo-European *li-n-kw-/*li-né-kw- "leaves behind" (whence also Sanskrit riṇákti "[s/he] leaves behind," Avestan irinaxti, Old Irish léicid "[s/he] lets go, leaves behind"), ar-léici "[s/he] lets go, releases, lends," present tense derivative from the base *lei̯kw- "leave behind, distance oneself from," whence also, with varying ablaut, Greek leípō, leípein (aorist élipon) "to leave, quit, be missing," Armenian likʼ "(s/he) left, let go," Old Prussian polāikt "to remain," Lithuanian liekù, lìkti, Germanic *līhwan- "to grant, lend" (whence Old English lēon "to lend, grant," Old Saxon farlīhan, Old High German līhan, Old Norse ljá, Gothic leihwan "to lend")

Note: The specialization of sense in Germanic (from "leave behind" to "lend") is distinctive and has been variously explained. Attention has been drawn to the derivative *laihna- "something lent," perhaps from "something left as a legacy," with apparent counterparts in Indo-Iranian (see loan entry 1), and it has been argued that the noun's influence has restricted the meaning of the verb (see Antoine Meillet, "Sur le suffixe indo-européen *-nes-," Mémoires de la Société Linguistique de Paris, tome 15 [1908-09], pp. 254-56).

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of delinquent was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near delinquent

Cite this Entry

“Delinquent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/delinquent. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

delinquent

1 of 2 noun
de·​lin·​quent di-ˈliŋ-kwənt How to pronounce delinquent (audio)
: a delinquent person

delinquent

2 of 2 adjective
1
: offending by neglect or violation of duty or of law
2
: being overdue in payment
a delinquent charge account
delinquency
-kwən-sē
noun
delinquently adverb

Medical Definition

delinquent

1 of 2 noun
de·​lin·​quent -kwənt How to pronounce delinquent (audio)
: a transgressor against duty or the law especially in a degree not constituting crime
specifically : juvenile delinquent

delinquent

2 of 2 adjective
1
: offending by neglect or violation of duty or of law
2
: of, relating to, or characteristic of delinquents : marked by delinquency
delinquently adverb

Legal Definition

delinquent

1 of 2 noun
de·​lin·​quent di-ˈliŋ-kwənt How to pronounce delinquent (audio)
: a delinquent person
especially : juvenile delinquent

delinquent

2 of 2 adjective
1
a
: offending by neglect or violation of duty or law
delinquent acts
b
: characterized by juvenile delinquency
delinquent youth
2
: being overdue in payment
delinquent taxes
was delinquent in his child support payments
Etymology

Adjective

Latin delinquent-, delinquens, present participle of delinquere to commit (an offense), err

More from Merriam-Webster on delinquent

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