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 the central bank’s apparent admittance of guilt could pose bigger problems than any bond sale. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "The Fed’s New Communication Blunder," 25 Feb. 2019 The basic idea is that the federal government will apportion among the citizens living now the historical guilt for heinous acts committed by people long dead against other people long dead. James Freeman, WSJ, "Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Qualified to Teach History, Either," 19 Mar. 2019 No one is disputing Bible's guilt for a Houston slaying nearly 40 years ago that went unsolved for two decades before a jury convicted him of it and sent him to Texas death row. NBC News, "Attorneys for Texas ice pick killer propose execution by firing squad or gas," 27 June 2018 Her actions mirror those of Xin's parents, who also try to exploit Liu's guilt for financial gain. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "A government official's child rape is swept under the rug in Angels Wear White," 27 June 2018 And Deutsche Bank testified that these are ... so there is guilt for something. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Jessica Pressler talks ‘lady grifters’ + Ken Auletta on the ‘frenemies’ of the ad business on Recode Media," 24 June 2018 Their hardships were compounded by a crushing homesickness and guilt for the misery of friends and relatives left behind. Jesse Garza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After surviving Hurricane Maria, families left Puerto Rico and found homes in Milwaukee," 7 June 2018 English concluded that the evidence against his client was overwhelming and that the only thing that could clear him of a death sentence would be a concession of guilt for second-degree murder. CNN, "Supreme Court sides with death row inmate after lawyer said he was guilty," 14 May 2018 Whereas David felt guilt for his actions and thoughts, George didn't — unless he was caught. Marc Freeman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Seinfeld' Finale at 20: Hidden Tales From the Vault of a Comedian's Bizarro World," 13 May 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

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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Statistics for guilt

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on guilt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with guilt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guilt

Spanish Central: Translation of guilt

Nglish: Translation of guilt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guilt for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about guilt

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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