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

All of the above is a tee up for a drive directly into the sand trap of guilt. Ellie Krieger, Houston Chronicle, "Here are the diet terms that make dietitians cringe," 19 June 2019 The jury split on those three charges (7-5 in favor of guilt) was Winslow’s most favorable on the remaining eight counts. Robert Klemko, SI.com, "You Never Knew Kellen Winslow Jr.," 13 June 2019 All of the above is a tee up for a drive directly into the sand trap of guilt. Ellie Krieger, Washington Post, "There’s no such thing as ‘bad food.’ Four terms that make dietitians cringe.," 5 June 2019 Police succumbed to tunnel vision and confirmation bias, misinterpreting Deskovic’s amateur passion to help solve the crime as a sign of guilt. Michelle Malkin, National Review, "From Convicted Murderer to Exoneree to Law Grad," 5 June 2019 The adoption of a lenient standard of proof could mean that this punishment, and this frustration of popular will, could occur even though substantial doubt of guilt remained. Linda Greenhouse, The New York Review of Books, "The Impeachment Question," 30 May 2019 The thing about Aladdin is, the film did not showcase any element of guilt whenever the title character spoke anything less than the truth. Samia Khan, Teen Vogue, "Disney's "Aladdin" Subconsciously Dictated the Type Of Men I Date," 26 May 2019 Now, grief is a really good excuse for growing out a lumberjack beard (like, who really has time to shave when survivor's guilt is driving you to depression and constant day drinking? Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "I Really, Really Miss Captain America's Beard," 29 Apr. 2019 While some guilt comes with de-prioritizing other things, deliberately prioritizing at least one thing for yourself feels amazing. Casey Johnston, SELF, "Ask a Swole Woman: What Can I Do If I'm Bored of My Lifting Routine?," 24 Apr. 2019

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

22 Jun 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

Comments on guilt

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