Definition of criminal in English:

criminal

noun

  • A person who has committed a crime:

    ‘these men are dangerous criminals’
    • ‘Nor is it a police action against a random assortment of criminals or criminal gangs.’
    • ‘People are fed up that when the police do catch criminals the punishment never seems to fit the crime.’
    • ‘They all folded up on themselves and became a puzzle of incongruous crimes and criminals.’
    • ‘This is the most horrible crime in humanity that's been committed by those criminals.’
    • ‘A threat as harsh as death to all that commit a serious crime would deter some criminals.’
    • ‘Of course they can be dangerous if used by criminals or the criminally irresponsible.’
    • ‘We join forces with others to reduce crime, the number of criminals and victims.’
    • ‘The old idea of criminals and drug dealers is not the way that these people do business anymore.’
    • ‘She said that if the worst crime hot spots were being tackled the criminals moved further afield.’
    • ‘Crime is flexible and criminals would soon find a way of dealing with greater surveillance.’
    • ‘As I said before these people are criminals and murderers and should be treated as such.’
    • ‘The idea was to deter criminals with the ever-present threat of death for their crimes.’
    • ‘I would also say that criminals who commit the most severe crimes lose their right to live.’
    • ‘There are few offenders more despicable than criminals who prey on the elderly and infirm.’
    • ‘Most heroin users were criminals who committed crimes before they ever used drugs.’
    • ‘They are anxious not to upset anybody these days, even thugs and criminals.’
    • ‘Why do we single out sex offenders as necessarily different from other criminals?’
    • ‘One of the uses of capital punishment is to deter other criminals from committing more crimes.’
    • ‘They were just thugs and criminals who have now seen that justice can and will be done.’
    • ‘They are tough on crime and criminals but what they can't contemplate are the causes.’
    lawbreaker, offender, villain, delinquent, malefactor, culprit, wrongdoer, transgressor, sinner
    young offender, juvenile delinquent
    felon, thief, robber, armed robber, burglar, housebreaker, shoplifter, mugger, rapist, fraudster, swindler, racketeer, gunman, gangster, outlaw, bandit, terrorist, bioterrorist, narcoterrorist, ecoterrorist, cyberterrorist, agroterrorist
    yakuza
    crook, con, jailbird, lifer, baddy
    yardbird, yegg
    crim
    lighty
    tief
    tea leaf
    cracksman
    malfeasant, misfeasor, infractor
    miscreant, trespasser, trusty, transport
    peculator, defalcator
    View synonyms

adjective

  • 1Relating to crime:

    ‘they are charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage’
    ‘a criminal offence’
    • ‘After the verdict, he revealed that Bailey had a long record for theft, criminal damage and car crime.’
    • ‘The community does not report offences of criminal damage to police as they apparently show little interest.’
    • ‘He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each of the spamming and criminal conspiracy offences.’
    • ‘She was subject to a community rehabilitation order imposed just six weeks earlier for criminal damage offences.’
    • ‘She had previously pleaded guilty to several offences, including shoplifting and criminal damage to a taxi.’
    • ‘Making homosexuality illegal or a criminal offence does not make it disappear.’
    • ‘If that is the case then it is a criminal offence and a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.’
    • ‘Previously we have addressed burglary, criminal damage and speeding vehicles.’
    • ‘Claire had been arrested and bailed earlier on the day of her death for a previous criminal damage offence on a bus stop in Bolton.’
    • ‘Reports of criminal damage and persistent vandalism were also relayed to councillors.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said the dozen were being held in relation to suspected offences of assault and criminal damage.’
    • ‘Since the New Year police have received several reports of burglaries and criminal damage.’
    • ‘The crimes include shoplifting, assault, public order offences, theft and criminal damage.’
    • ‘They have admitted conspiracy to commit criminal damage to motor vehicles.’
    • ‘Sentences handed out would be geared to local crime priorities such as graffiti, criminal damage and car crime.’
    • ‘Burglary, theft, criminal damage and robbery showed a seven per cent reduction.’
    • ‘The barrister also says that his actions could amount to conspiracy to commit criminal damage.’
    • ‘He called on the public to report any instances of criminal damage or vandalism.’
    • ‘When he broke into Ray's house, Martin could be committing the crimes of burglary and criminal damage.’
    • ‘This has been attributed to a rise in criminal damages offences which made up a quarter of all recorded crime.’
    unlawful, illegal, against the law, illicit, illegitimate, lawbreaking, lawless, felonious, delinquent, culpable, villainous, nefarious, corrupt, fraudulent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law Relating to crime as opposed to civil matters:
      ‘a criminal court’
      • ‘He said that filing a civil claim during a criminal trial was standard court procedure.’
      • ‘The normal rule is that the Crown does not ask for nor pay the costs unless statute provides for it in criminal matters.’
      • ‘Should the rules for disclosure be different for civil and criminal matters?’
      • ‘So just what is this court that can produce results at a rate civil and criminal courts could only marvel at?’
      • ‘The duty may be enforced by either civil or criminal proceedings against the parents.’
      • ‘Whether it be a criminal trial or a civil matter, it is the way things look.’
      • ‘Two cases brought before the criminal appeal court were lost yesterday.’
      • ‘The Court specifically set out to deal with criminal matters even though it was an extradition case.’
      • ‘It is also worth noting that each of these sources of law can provide for both civil and criminal rules.’
      • ‘Is there some statutory provision in this State that governs costs in criminal matters?’
      • ‘Can disciplinary proceedings be taken for the same offence after an acquittal in the criminal courts?’
      • ‘The police say they are still ‘trying to sort out whether it is a criminal or a civil matter’.’
      • ‘These offices are civil judges, criminal judges and administrative judges.’
      • ‘He was a great judge in criminal matters and he knew about Parliament.’
      • ‘In the criminal court, if matters are not heard within 18 months, they are thrown out.’
      • ‘It authorizes the court to issue an order, backed by civil and criminal sanctions, for a monthly allowance.’
      • ‘It is important to note, however, that the right covers civil as well as criminal litigation.’
      • ‘The legal system is based on the French model, with both civil and criminal courts.’
      • ‘The principles applied by the civil / criminal court are sound and based on experience and aim at doing justice.’
      • ‘The order is not a sentence, but a civil restriction which criminal courts can now grant when passing sentence.’
  • 2informal (of an action or situation) deplorable and shocking:

    ‘he may never fulfil his potential, and that would be a criminal waste’
    deplorable, preposterous, shameful, reprehensible, disgraceful, inexcusable, unforgivable, unpardonable, unacceptable
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (as an adjective): from late Latin criminalis, from Latin crimen, crimin- (see crime).

Pronunciation:

criminal

/ˈkrɪmɪn(ə)l/