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 Other witnesses shared similar feelings of guilt for not stepping in, even though an officer kept bystanders at bay. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA TODAY, "Emotional eyewitness accounts, lots of video: Here's what we learned in the first week of testimony at Derek Chauvin trial," 3 Apr. 2021 The train helps the plane, grounded by feelings of guilt over a traumatic earlier accident, get home to help the rescue plan. Doug George, chicagotribune.com, "Youth musical ‘Plane That Took a Train’ becomes a podcast, and a reminder of the times we all could use a little help," 2 Apr. 2021 Their surprise at the unexpected scrutiny looked to the observers like a sign of guilt. Jessica Seigel, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why You Can’t Spot a Liar Just By Looking," 30 Mar. 2021 Federal prosecutors, though, reasoned that some credit should be given for Champion-Cain’s admission of guilt early on, her lack of a criminal record and her philanthropy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Champion-Cain should spend nearly 11 years behind bars for Ponzi scheme, prosecutors recommend," 24 Mar. 2021 But scant evidence for some was proof of guilt for others, requiring swift retribution. Washington Post, "The Rope: A True Story of Murder, Heroism, and the Dawn of the NAACP," 19 Mar. 2021 My laboratory research and other studies of jury decision-making have found that the order in which the information is presented influences judgments of guilt. Jennifer Trueblood, The Conversation, "Context influences the decisions you make – whether you’re a homebuyer, a juror or a physician," 19 Mar. 2021 While battling guilt over the death of his mother, Miguel is also damaging other relationships along the way. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Mayans M.C. star Danny Pino on Miguel Galindo's unraveling: 'The loss of his mother untethers him'," 17 Mar. 2021 When states began to announce body mass index, known as BMI, would be a factor in determining early eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, some who meet the requirement has expressed feelings of guilt. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "US surpasses 100M vaccinations; about 1 in 4 adults have received at least one shot: COVID-19 updates," 13 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for guilt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for guilt

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guilt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guilt. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on guilt

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