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

That sort of reaction, casting blame -- however unintentionally -- on survivors who are already struggling with guilt is just one way the stigma of suicide gets perpetuated. Jessica Ravitz, CNN, "The words to say -- and not to say -- about suicide," 9 June 2018 The original Staircase ended suddenly with Michael Peterson being handcuffed and sent away, even though the court doesn’t have enough evidence to prove his guilt. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Review: Whether Old or New, The Staircase Offers No Easy Answers," 8 June 2018 Because of rules against double jeopardy, the pair — who have since died — were never tried again, despite their confession of guilt. Gabby Raymond, Time, "The Justice Department Has Reopened Its Investigation of Emmett Till's Murder. Here Are 5 Things to Know About the Case," 12 July 2018 After that last-minute admission of guilt, Ramirez was back before Maloney on Thursday for sentencing. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Her job with the MS-13 robbery crew: Case the businesses and wipe down the guns.," 5 July 2018 If so, it was fitted with a silencer, for, instead of an admission of guilt, Gebhardt offered a series of what can best be described as non-denial denials. Christian Boone, ajc, "Damaged evidence, shifty witnesses mark truck-dragging murder trial," 21 June 2018 With flavors under 300 calories per pint, @halotopcreamery is the perfect guilt-free treat. Stacey Leasca, Southern Living, "The Best Days to Go Grocery Shopping," 2 June 2018 On the court record, Mitchell said Brents maintained his innocence and performed the volunteer work only to avoid a trial, which Mitchell said was unnecessary, and not to admit guilt. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "U of L signee Jairus Brents' shoplifting charge to be dismissed," 25 June 2018 Sanders was also indicted for raping both women, but did not admit guilt on those charges Thursday. Jeff Amy, BostonGlobe.com, "Mississippi man pleads guilty in killing of Catholic nuns," 22 June 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

Old English gylt delinquency

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Statistics for guilt

Last Updated

14 Sep 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

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Comments on guilt

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