guilt

noun
\ˈgilt \

Definition of guilt 

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.

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Examples of guilt in a Sentence

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

To do so may dredge up our own shame and guilt along with anxiety and despair. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Thai Cave Rescue Cannot Save Us From National Shame," 11 July 2018 The document does not focus on questions of Mr. Trump's guilt or innocence. CBS News, "Report: Trump's lawyers blast Comey as "Machiavellian" in memo to Mueller," 7 July 2018 The document does not focus on questions of Trump's guilt or innocence. Eric Tucker, Fox News, "Trump lawyers attacked Comey as 'Machiavellian' in memo to Mueller," 7 July 2018 The document, unlike other correspondence between Trump lawyers and Mueller's team, does not dwell on questions of Trump's guilt or innocence. Eric Tucker And Chad Day, chicagotribune.com, "Trump lawyers call Comey 'Machiavellian' in confidential memo to Mueller," 7 July 2018 Justice is served when the accused obey the conditions of bail and show up for trial, and a judge or jury is able to determine innocence or guilt. WSJ, "The Bail System Evolved for a Good Reason," 21 June 2018 That turns the retail showroom into a place to experience the products’ style without guilt or pressure from salespeople. Courtney Coffman, The Atlantic, "Shops Aren’t for Shopping Anymore," 19 June 2018 Obtaining legal counsel should never be seen as a sign of guilt or wrongdoing under any circumstances. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "If Everything Is a Russia Bombshell, Nothing Is," 9 Apr. 2018 That should have been the end of the story, save for my momentary guilt knowing that healthy young people’s premiums were paying to replace my decaying baby-boomer parts. Steve Cohen, WSJ, "You Can’t Put a Price on a Hip Replacement, and That’s a Problem," 13 July 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for guilt

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

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Statistics for guilt

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for guilt

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

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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 \

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 \

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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