\ 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?
2 obsolete : justly liable to or deserving of a penalty
3a : suggesting or involving guilt The children exchanged guilty looks.
b : aware of or suffering from guilt guilty consciences

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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 The couple has closely followed other high-profile cases in the scandal, and realize that many defendants who have pleaded guilty have still had to serve jail time. Steve Helling,, "Lori Loughlin Hires Prison Expert to 'Help Her Learn the Ropes' If She Serves Time," 3 Jan. 2020 The former president of Puerto Rico's House of Representatives pleaded guilty Monday in a 2017 corruption case in which he was ordered to pay a fine but will not face prison time. CBS News, "Ex Puerto Rico official pleads guilty in corruption case," 30 Dec. 2019 Cooper, 39, pleaded guilty earlier this month to murder and armed robbery charges in a plea agreement, according to court documents. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "'I'm full of regret': Killer gets 55 years for Indianapolis grocery store murder," 30 Dec. 2019 All three defendants pleaded guilty, according to Xinhua. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Chinese scientist who produced genetically altered babies sentenced to 3 years in jail," 30 Dec. 2019 Juan Ignacio Duran pleaded guilty last month to vehicular homicide, first-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault in the collision that killed Dianne Johnson, 71. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "Drunk driver who caused fatal Westminster crash gets 29 years in prison," 30 Dec. 2019 Mark Nicholas Espinosa, a former GardaWorld driver who pleaded guilty, was sentenced Tuesday to 37 months on five federal counts related to a Dec. 5, 2018, theft in Louisville. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Armored truck driver sentenced to 3 years for stealing more than $900,000," 20 Dec. 2019 Both men were indicted last year and pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to launder money and racketeering conspiracy, a wide-ranging federal crime that includes the Oakland murder. Matthias Gafni,, "Louisiana man, associate plead guilty in Oakland murder-for-hire," 19 Dec. 2019 In September, the getaway driver, Kevin Edwards, pleaded guilty in exchange for a 25-year sentence, CNN affiliate WLS-TV reported. Ray Sanchez And Brad Parks, CNN, "Killers of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee get 90- and 65-year prison terms," 19 Dec. 2019

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

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guilty.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 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

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