\ ˈgil-tē How to pronounce guilty (audio) \
guiltier; guiltiest

Definition of guilty

1 : justly chargeable with or responsible for a usually grave breach of conduct or a crime Does the defendant plead guilty or not guilty?
2a : suggesting or involving guilt The children exchanged guilty looks.
b : aware of or suffering from guilt guilty consciences
3 obsolete : justly liable to or deserving of a penalty

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Other Words from guilty

guiltily \ ˈgil-​tə-​lē How to pronounce guiltily (audio) \ adverb
guiltiness \ ˈgil-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce guiltiness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for guilty



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blameworthy, blamable, guilty, culpable mean deserving reproach or punishment. blameworthy and blamable apply to any degree of reprehensibility. conduct adjudged blameworthy an accident for which no one is blamable guilty implies responsibility for or consciousness of crime, sin, or, at the least, grave error or misdoing. guilty of a breach of etiquette culpable is weaker than guilty and is likely to connote malfeasance or errors of ignorance, omission, or negligence. culpable neglect

Examples of guilty in a Sentence

Do you think he's innocent or guilty? Will the defendant plead guilty or not guilty? The children exchanged guilty looks. He was acting like someone with a guilty conscience. There's no need to feel guilty about it.
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Recent Examples on the Web Later that same year, a jury in South Carolina found one of his company’s managers guilty of defrauding the military and sent him to prison. al, "DOJ accused congressional candidate’s company of fraud. He blames ... Obama.," 17 Jan. 2020 Shelia Sandmann, 63, of Taylor Mill was found not guilty after the jury deliberation for about an hour, her lawyer, Paul Hill, said. Cameron Knight,, "Covington childcare worker found not guilty on assault charge," 17 Jan. 2020 He was tried five times, with two mistrials because of witness unavailability and two more because of deadlocked juries, before a jury found him and another man guilty in 1991. Bob Egelko,, "Man serving life gets new trial after attorney described as racist," 16 Jan. 2020 The guilty party was the Houston Astros, who during their 2017 championship season designed a system of stealing opposing teams’ pitching signs and relaying them to their own hitters. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "The Wrong Way to Solve the MLB’s Sign-Stealing Scandal," 15 Jan. 2020 All four men charged in connection with the 2017 murder of a prominent Indianapolis doctor have pleaded guilty, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Prosecutors strike plea deal with 4th man connected to 2017 death of Indianapolis doctor," 13 Jan. 2020 If the Corbynistas were right, and none of this had really been necessary, were these politicians not guilty of historic crimes? David Graeber, The New York Review of Books, "The Center Blows Itself Up: Care and Spite in the ‘Brexit Election’," 13 Jan. 2020 All 10 of the people who faced charges in the case have either pleaded guilty or were convicted. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "Ex-Sheriff Lee Baca likely headed to prison after Supreme Court declines to review case," 13 Jan. 2020 Speaker Chatfield is a man of God and the constitution, and the constitution says I’m presumed innocent until proven guilty. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "State Rep. Larry Inman survives recall effort — but still isn't allowed in his office," 10 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'guilty.' 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 guilty

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for guilty

see guilt entry 1

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Time Traveler for guilty

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for guilty

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guilty.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for guilty


How to pronounce guilty (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of guilty

: responsible for committing a crime or doing something bad or wrong
: showing that you know you have done something bad or wrong
: feeling bad because you have done something bad or wrong or because you believe you have done something bad or wrong


\ ˈgil-tē How to pronounce guilty (audio) \
guiltier; guiltiest

Kids Definition of guilty

1 : responsible for having done wrong
2 : suffering from or showing bad feelings about having done wrong I feel guilty about lying.

Other Words from guilty

guiltily \ -​tə-​lē \ adverb


guiltier; guiltiest

Legal Definition of guilty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having committed a crime : justly charged with a specified crime guilty of larceny
2 : involving guilt or culpability guilty knowledge



Legal Definition of guilty (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a plea of a criminal defendant who does not intend to contest the charges
2 : a verdict of a jury that believes the defendant committed the crime charged — compare nolo contendere, not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity

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More from Merriam-Webster on guilty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for guilty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with guilty

Spanish Central: Translation of guilty

Nglish: Translation of guilty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of guilty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on guilty

What made you want to look up guilty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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