\ 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 guilty (audio) \ adverb
guiltiness \ ˈgil-​tē-​nəs How to pronounce guilty (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 Wainwright, the team's fourth-round pick of the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft, pleaded not guilty to the indictment charges and posted a $10,000 bond on Dec. 22, records state. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer placed on administrative leave after rape charges," 7 Apr. 2021 He is being held on $51,500 bail and has pleaded not guilty. NBC News, "Man faces hate crime charge after rocks thrown at Asian woman driving with her son," 6 Apr. 2021 The couple pleaded not guilty to the felony charges. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Soros-backed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner loses bid to stay on McCloskey case," 6 Apr. 2021 Updated April 5, 2021: Jen Shah and Stuart Smith have both pleaded not guilty to charges of charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Ineye Komonibo,, "Bravo Star Jen Shah Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud Charges," 5 Apr. 2021 The trial -- in which the former Minneapolis police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter -- began last week. Bill Hutchinson, ABC News, "Parents incensed after students forced to be mock jurors for Derek Chauvin trial," 4 Apr. 2021 Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "A week of compelling and potentially devastating testimony at Derek Chauvin's murder trial," 3 Apr. 2021 Shah pleaded not guilty to both charges during an arraignment in Utah this morning. Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture, "Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’s Jennifer Shah Arrested for Fraud," 2 Apr. 2021 More than 23 years ago the city paid a nearly $54,000 settlement to a man after he was punched and kicked by an officer who later pleaded guilty to federal charges in the incident. Libor Jany, Star Tribune, "Chauvin case shines spotlight on Minneapolis police history of mistreatment of handcuffed suspects," 2 Apr. 2021

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

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Guilty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for guilty



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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Comments on guilty

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