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.
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
Recent Examples of guilt from the Web
In Argentina alone, Odebrecht admitted to paying $35 million in bribes between 2007 and 2014, according to its December guilt plea in the U.S. case.
However, whether out of guilt or because there’s lots of money in the corporate petty cash account, severance packages with Ford are downright exceptional.
A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but conveys no defense will be taken up.
But as Borger shows us with great subtlety and surety, Lucille Frank eventually realizes that the forces amassed against her husband have nothing to do with any potential guilt.
Homeowners who enjoy the beauty and durability of barberry and burning bush shrubs will soon be able to plant the invasive shrubs without guilt because UConn horticulturists have created sterile, seedless versions.
A no-contest plea acknowledges there is sufficient evidence to convict, but is not an admittance of guilt.
In Germany and France, far-right politicians rage against having to shoulder the guilt of the Holocaust more than half a century after the end of World War II.
Cohan points to a scene in a recent episode, in which Maggie and Daryl (Norman Reedus) clear the air around Daryl's guilt over being a bystander (and by provoking Negan, an instigator) in Glenn's death.
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.
Origin and Etymology of guilt
Middle English, delinquency, guilt, from Old English gylt delinquency
First Known Use: before 12th century
GUILT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of guilt for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of guilt for Students
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
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
Legal Definition of guilt
: the fact of having committed an offense especially against the law not enough evidence to establish guilt — compare innocence
Origin and Etymology of guilt
Old English gylt delinquency
Seen and Heard
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