Definition of guilt in English:



mass noun
  • 1The fact of having committed a specified or implied offence or crime.

    ‘it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner's guilt’
    • ‘The good news is that camp directors are not responsible to decide innocence or guilt.’
    • ‘It is talking about guilt in the context of a finding of guilt in a criminal justice system to which this very Act applies.’
    • ‘There has been no determination of wrongful conduct, guilt or liability in the Settlement.’
    • ‘A lot of ground, after all, has been gained and yesterday's judgment offers no comment on his guilt or innocence.’
    • ‘The orders concerned were divorced from any finding of guilt for an offence.’
    • ‘The suffering of illness is thus compounded by an additional burden of guilt and recrimination.’
    • ‘His trial is not expected to begin until next year, when a jury will decide his guilt or innocence.’
    • ‘A reasonable man would not infer guilt from the fact of a police inquiry.’
    • ‘They may, even unwittingly, favor their colleagues in determining guilt or innocence.’
    • ‘The extradition proceedings will not look at any issues concerning a prisoner's guilt or the evidence against them.’
    • ‘It has been stressed the setting up of the advice line does not imply any guilt.’
    • ‘It is only by having prescribed limits and a proper testing regime that we can be sure of proving guilt or innocence.’
    • ‘The prisons' management has presumed guilt over innocence and allowed torture and abuse on a grand scale.’
    • ‘They believe in a culture of blame which moves from the presumption of guilt rather than innocence.’
    • ‘After all, it refers to a standard of proof that assumes innocence until guilt is proven.’
    • ‘For certain crimes where guilt is not in question, and the circumstances were horrific then people should be executed.’
    • ‘DNA is unique to each person and acts as a fingerprint which in terms of crimes can prove someone's guilt or innocence.’
    • ‘You remember rather here it seeks to have you infer guilt from such facts as it is able to prove to your satisfaction.’
    • ‘Reports advise that you acknowledge guilt for the offence, but did not intend to kill your victim.’
    • ‘Several deep scratches across his face revealed his guilt in the crime against her.’
    culpability, guiltiness, blameworthiness, wrongdoing, wrong, wrongfulness, criminality, unlawfulness, misconduct, delinquency, sin, sinfulness, iniquity
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    1. 1.1 A feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation.
      ‘he remembered with sudden guilt the letter from his mother that he had not yet read’
      • ‘In the simplest, we have robots or androids who can think but who cannot feel joy, grief, guilt or jealousy.’
      • ‘It speaks to man's most damaging emotions, such as anger, guilt, fear, doubt and anxiety.’
      • ‘Along with embarrassment and guilt, shame is one of the emotions that motivate moral behaviour.’
      • ‘Since then, he has grown more liberated, fighting lingering feelings of guilt and fear.’
      • ‘The rest of us have an emotive connection to an act we perceive as wrong - usually guilt but occasionally anger or upset.’
      • ‘It is not uncommon for parents to experience guilt, frustration, anxiety, and depression.’
      • ‘It not only gives someone on whom the blame can be focused on, it also gives us a way of avoiding our own feeling of anger or guilt.’
      • ‘If the creature lives a largely solitary existence, it will not need social emotions such as guilt and jealousy.’
      • ‘I journeyed through countless emotions, from guilt through anger to sadness.’
      • ‘Obesity shows a desire for self-protection and a defence against anxiety and feelings of guilt.’
      • ‘Leon's so emotionally numb that all he seems capable of feeling is guilt and rage.’
      • ‘Looking for a way to satisfy white post-colonial guilt and make friends at the same time?’
      • ‘Abused women feel isolated from the family and society because of their guilt, shame and fear.’
      • ‘She suffered grief, guilt and depression as a result and wants to shield her daughters from the same pain.’
      • ‘It preys on women's sense of fear and anger, and on men's feelings of guilt and shame.’
      • ‘Very often he is feeling guilt or shame or remorse for something he has done.’
      • ‘What is uncivilised is the secrecy, guilt, shame and sorrow that surrounds this issue as it stands now.’
      • ‘It reflects a depressing net of guilt, shame, despair and hopelessness.’
      • ‘What I felt was guilt, shame, fear and what I suppose is their physical manifestation, nausea.’
      • ‘For many of us, food has become tied into cycles of guilt and pleasure, desire and revulsion.’
      self-reproach, self-accusation, self-condemnation, feelings of guilt, guiltiness, a guilty conscience, a bad conscience, pangs of conscience
      View synonyms


[with object]informal
  • Make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.

    ‘Celeste had been guilted into going by her parents’
    • ‘Yeah, I usually hate to go shopping at the mall, but, she guilted me into it.’
    • ‘They didn't put us under restraint - after all, they weren't paying us anything - but they guilted us into staying another hour by assuring us that they were going to come back to the bloggers between 2 and 3.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we still be trying to educate our youth about drugs rather than guilting them into not using?’
    • ‘‘I feel bad, like I guilted you into buying me stuff,’ he sighed, moving his hand from her hip to her back which he gently rubbed, sending little shivers up her spine.’
    • ‘Students are continually guilted into shouldering the burden of responsibility when they do not succeed in school and all too often accept as inevitable their fate of being sucked into military service.’
    • ‘You sure she wasn't just humouring you, reassuring you, guilting you into staying?’
    • ‘The syrup wouldn't dribble on the ground, being stuck between the toilet paper and the car, and so I wouldn't have to be guilted into cleaning.’
    • ‘Is this the diet industry's way of guilting us into weightloss?’
    • ‘I didn't know this until later, and I felt awful - like I'd guilted him into it.’
    • ‘On the other front VP messaged me and was guilting me into a date again so I agreed.’
    • ‘It was the idea of me interrupting him with a phone call and him guilting me about it.’
    • ‘I probably could have made more had I pushed harder or guilted people into giving a little more to ‘put me over the top’.’
    • ‘She had fought the marriage at first, but her mother had guilted her into it.’
    • ‘I wasn't going to go to my law school graduation, but my sister guilted me into it by reminding me that I have a 90-year-old grandmother and a 12-year-old niece who would very much like to see me graduate.’
    • ‘Before I had a chance to flail my body across the table at her, she made her case - and guilted those people into moving.’
    • ‘He guilts George into chipping in to buy her a new wheelchair, but they buy her a used model that ends up being a lemon.’
    • ‘When I was seven, though, I guilted my parents into letting me stay home.’
    • ‘Sometimes if I'm really in the mood, I'll keep my tree up until January 10th, until I am guilted into recycling it by the thought of someone coming over and chastising me for keeping it up longer than absolutely necessary…’
    • ‘At first, Jake was reluctant to join her on the shopping trip, but Liz guilted him into it.’
    • ‘I don't want to call it a season recap, because under that circumstance I'll probably be guilted into doing season recaps for each league.’


  • guilt by association

    • Guilt ascribed to someone not because of any evidence but because of their association with an offender.

      • ‘Locke says it was a difficult decision - ‘in this province, a lot of people have guilt by association,’ he explains - but he decided to accept the offer.’
      • ‘We were already at war with terrorism, of course, a war that has led to preventive detention, guilt by association, ethnic profiling and spying without criminal suspicion.’
      • ‘‘Associates with known gang members’ (who could, of course, be relatives or neighbors) is clearly guilt by association.’
      • ‘It is a useful tactic to lump liberals (in the classic sense i.e. libertarians), fascists, and conservatives in the same camp so opponents can be misrepresented and dismissed through guilt by association.’
      • ‘Be yourself from the get-go so popular by association doesn't turn into guilt by association.’
      • ‘But I do regret guilt by association in politics.’
      • ‘Instead, the administration continues to defend its prerogative to detain foreign nationals without due process and to expel them solely on the basis of political speech or guilt by association.’
      • ‘And while he did not actually put the braces on my teeth or do the extracting of the wisdom teeth - he recommended both and has a major case of guilt by association.’
      • ‘Now, I could respond to this by merely saying that the charge constitutes guilt by association - a defense that always works when applied to a liberal.’
      • ‘But that argument proves too much, for it would authorize guilt by association whenever any organization engages in some illegal activity.’


Old English gylt, of unknown origin.