\ 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 A month later, Wiese pleaded guilty to seven more charges — all injuries to other babies at McKinney Joyous Montessori — in exchange for another decade in prison. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "A Plano mom crusades for video after a day care worker abused her baby. But is it the right fight?," 13 Mar. 2020 Weinstein was free on a $2 million bail bond during the trial but had his bail revoked after the guilty verdict. Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post, "Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting two women in New York," 11 Mar. 2020 Jennifer O’Connor, a juror in the first trial recalled after the eventual guilty verdict in 2017. Emily Palmer, New York Times, "Home Visits. Handwritten Notes. How Reporters Contact a Jury.," 11 Mar. 2020 No guilty verdict or jail sentence, even for life, can restore what Harvey Weinstein stole from his victims. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "No Justice for Harvey Weinstein’s Victims," 10 Mar. 2020 In 2015, Allen pleaded guilty to the new charges and was sentenced to two years in prison. Cameron Knight,, "Police: Convicted sex offender propositioned 7-year-old in Sayler Park," 5 Mar. 2020 Although after the guilty verdict at Helmuth’s eventual trial, he is effectively doomed, their deeper hope that their sacrifices had not all been in vain threads each letter. Mary Spencer, National Review, "What Real Resistance Looks Like," 29 Feb. 2020 The Harvey Weinstein guilty verdict is a victory for the #MeToo movement. Matthew Andersson, The Conversation, "In gender discrimination, social class matters a great deal," 27 Feb. 2020 Catherine Pugh received her prison sentence, plus three years of supervised release, on Thursday after last year pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges over a scheme involving her children's books, The Associated Press reports. TheWeek, "Former Baltimore mayor gets 3-year prison sentence over children's book scheme," 27 Feb. 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

18 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Guilty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 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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