guilt

noun
\ ˈgilt How to pronounce guilt (audio) \

Definition of guilt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty A jury will determine the defendant's guilt or innocence. broadly : guilty conduct
2a : the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously His guilt was written in his face.
b : feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : self-reproach
3 : a feeling of deserving blame for offenses Wracked by guilt, he confessed his affairs.

guilt

verb
guilted; guilting; guilts

Definition of guilt (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cause (someone) to feel guilty Don't listen to Mommy. She's trying to guilt you.— Gary Shteyngart : to persuade (someone) to do something by causing feelings of guilt guilting her to eat her own green beans because "there are starving children in Africa."— Katie Boerema often followed by into A far stronger compulsion is created when people think they're being watched, as a mildly impressive 86 percent of people were guilted into washing their hands in one study.— Steve Lipsher

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Examples of guilt in a Sentence

Noun The jury determines the defendant's guilt or innocence. His guilt in the matter was indisputable. It was clear that the guilt lay with him. a strong sense of guilt She feels guilt over something that happened before she was born! our secret guilts and insecurities
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Walz, Biden and Frey were joined in rushing to proclaim guilt in this instance by both of Minnesota's U.S. senators, the Minneapolis police chief and state public safety commissioner, City Council members — and on and on and on. D.j. Tice, Star Tribune, "The challenge of a fair trial for Chauvin," 20 Feb. 2021 Baraitser’s role was not to decide guilt but whether the extradition request meets the requirements under the U.S.–U.K. Extradition Treaty of 2003. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Biden DOJ appeals British ruling in seeking extradition of Julian Assange," 12 Feb. 2021 It was settled in 2001 for an undisclosed amount, and Father Kennington never admitted guilt. New York Times, "A Vanishing Priest, a Wall of Secrecy and a 25-Year-Old Abuse Case," 30 Jan. 2021 Without admitting guilt, the Navient agreed to a small financial settlement with 10 borrowers. Michael Taylor, ExpressNews.com, "Taylor: Past attempts at forgiving student loans have fallen short," 16 Dec. 2020 From a boy figuring things out to a sociopath incapable of regret or admitting guilt? Melanie Hamlett, Harper's BAZAAR, "As a Survivor of Partner Violence, I Saw Myself in Grace Fraser," 7 Dec. 2020 None of those people, however, doubts Bernard’s guilt. Los Angeles Times, "Kim Kardashian West flexes her prison-reform muscle, taking on death-penalty case," 30 Nov. 2020 At various times, that guilt threatens to consume O’Neal. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "Cleveland-shot ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ puts racial tension of the 1960s on full display," 12 Feb. 2021 The state Supreme Court found that Karren did not commit an error and did not exceed his jurisdiction in declaring a mistrial as to the guilt phase of the trial. Tracy Neal, Arkansas Online, "Bella Vista man to receive third murder trial in 6-year-old boy's death," 11 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guilt.' 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 guilt

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1971, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for guilt

Noun

Middle English, delinquency, guilt, from Old English gylt delinquency

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Time Traveler for guilt

Time Traveler

The first known use of guilt was before the 12th century

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Statistics for guilt

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guilt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guilt. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for guilt

guilt

noun

English Language Learners Definition of guilt

: responsibility for a crime or for doing something bad or wrong
: a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong

guilt

noun
\ ˈgilt How to pronounce guilt (audio) \

Kids Definition of guilt

1 : responsibility for having done something wrong and especially something against the law He admitted his guilt.
2 : a feeling of shame or regret as a result of bad conduct

Other Words from guilt

guiltless \ -​ləs \ adjective

guilt

noun
\ ˈgilt How to pronounce guilt (audio) \

Medical Definition of guilt

: feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : morbid self-reproach often manifest in marked preoccupation with the moral correctness of one's behavior aggressive responses originating in inner guilt and uncertainty

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guilt

noun

Legal Definition of guilt

: the fact of having committed an offense especially against the law not enough evidence to establish guilt — compare innocence

History and Etymology for guilt

Old English gylt delinquency

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Comments on guilt

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