Definition of guilty in English:



  • 1Culpable of or responsible for a specified wrongdoing.

    ‘he was found guilty of manslaughter’
    ‘Williams pleaded guilty to three separate offences’
    • ‘It is suggested that such a defendant should be regarded as being guilty of manslaughter and not murder.’
    • ‘Whether a plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence is a question of fact.’
    • ‘From court records I can confirm that B pleaded guilty to the offence of affray.’
    • ‘Having found there was a case to answer the trial continued and we found the Appellant guilty on all 5 counts.’
    • ‘Indeed, one of the persons sued by the applicants had pleaded guilty to such a crime.’
    • ‘I was told that the husband has pleaded guilty to contempt proceedings in the Family Court.’
    • ‘Some defendants were found guilty on this count and sentenced either to death or to long terms of imprisonment.’
    • ‘Now, we know that your client pleaded guilty to a similar offence against his daughter.’
    • ‘You say this article carries the imputation that your client is guilty of procuring arson.’
    • ‘The householder may be guilty of manslaughter and liable to be brought before the criminal courts.’
    • ‘He pleaded guilty to the second count of assault on the second day in the presence of the jury panel.’
    • ‘He had pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to the lesser offence of theft, but that plea was not accepted by the Crown.’
    • ‘You will remember he told you he pleaded guilty to that offence; he admitted that offence.’
    • ‘He pleaded guilty to three other indecent assaults on the same youngster.’
    • ‘She subsequently pleaded guilty to and he was found guilty of possession of cannabis resin with intent to supply.’
    • ‘Another convicted man who appeared for sentencing had pleaded guilty to wounding.’
    • ‘He denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.’
    • ‘You hear judges write that the employee is guilty of contributory negligence.’
    • ‘A person who has been found guilty of a criminal offence is liable to be sentenced by the court.’
    • ‘It is usually said that there is no age below which, as a matter of law, a child cannot be guilty of contributory negligence.’
    culpable, to blame, blameworthy, blameable, at fault, in the wrong, responsible, answerable, accountable, liable
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    1. 1.1 Justly chargeable with a particular fault or error.
      ‘she was guilty of a serious error of judgement’
      • ‘These three reasons show that the only fault scientists are guilty of is of neglecting their public image.’
      • ‘The Reds had been guilty of a few calamitous defensive errors of their own, especially away from home, this season.’
      • ‘Nor should we be guilty of the error of assuming that the problem relates only to Genesis.’
      • ‘He made a strategic error and was at best guilty of political naivety, at worst of incompetence.’
      • ‘The French side looked agitated on the pitch and were guilty of a number of handling errors.’
      • ‘South Africans alone are guilty for this shameful marginalisation of our visual arts.’
      • ‘If this is what critics meant - and still mean - by reckless, then I am guilty of that charge.’
      • ‘In the jittery start both sides were guilty of handling errors but Keighley had the best of the early play.’
    2. 1.2 Conscious of, affected by, or revealing a feeling of guilt.
      ‘he felt guilty about the way he had treated her’
      ‘a guilty conscience’
      • ‘It's what we tell ourselves to salve our guilty consciences as we walk on by.’
      • ‘Your guilty conscience is a testament to your unfailing virtue, of which you should be proud.’
      • ‘He never felt so guilty in his life but for what reason… He didn't know.’
      • ‘History is littered with the guilty consciences of those who chose to remain silent.’
      • ‘Seemingly, I would alleviate my guilty conscience by showering him with presents.’
      • ‘In all likelihood, he was not plagued by a guilty conscience at the time of the killings.’
      • ‘Soon all that was left was nothing more than a ghostly echo of a guilty conscience.’
      • ‘He was never rewarded with anything but a guilty conscience and a hell of his own making.’
      • ‘I always felt so guilty when she said that.’
      • ‘Now Lenny is a reformed alcoholic with a white wife, a thriving writing career and a guilty conscience.’
      • ‘Some players do write and try to justify their dirty deeds, maybe to salve their own guilty conscience.’
      • ‘For a man of honour, a guilty conscience must be a dreadful, perhaps unbearable burden.’
      • ‘Do you think he had a guilty conscience from abusing me, and he really loved me?’
      • ‘I paused, and thought of something to make her feel less guilty.’
      • ‘I actually felt guilty and regretted making that phone call more than anything.’
      • ‘That put a brave face on it, but there were guilty consciences wherever you looked.’
      • ‘There is no pain like that of a guilty conscience, and bigots hate to admit they're wrong.’
      • ‘We rarely realise here in Great Britain how lucky we to lack a guilty national conscience.’
      • ‘The reviewer is haunted by a guilty conscience: many of us did not write down what we could have.’
      • ‘I have this guilty feeling being lucky among the people who are not affected in the recent flood.’
      ashamed, guilt-ridden, conscience-stricken, remorseful, sorry, regretful, contrite, repentant, penitent, rueful, abashed, shamefaced, sheepish, hangdog
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    3. 1.3 Causing a feeling of guilt.
      ‘a guilty secret’
      • ‘I know she says the boyfriend she betrayed tipped off the press after she had revealed her guilty secret in her sleep.’
      • ‘But keeping that guilty secret is deemed to be worth it by many if they get their crucial night's sleep.’
      • ‘I have often noted transits to Uranus in this house denote a time when guilty secrets and hidden vices are exposed.’
      • ‘Homosexuality was his other guilty secret, which he kept hidden from public sight until he was in his seventies.’
      • ‘Where once it was society's guilty secret, now there is a concerted effort to trawl for and publicise any hint of racism.’
      • ‘Goofing off is certainly one guilty pleasure I have perfected over the years.’
      • ‘The packed bags remained under the bed like a guilty secret for the rest of the night.’
      • ‘I'm glad it's not a guilty secret that has ever cost me any precious sleep.’
      • ‘The Sword and the Sorcerer is a very, very guilty pleasure for this judge.’
      • ‘Until relatively recently, those of us who bet regularly had something of a guilty secret.’
      • ‘Mortensen produces a decent performance as a man that might be hiding a guilty secret.’
      • ‘Landscape is indeed the innocent party, and yet can hide the most guilty and sinister of secrets.’
      • ‘Whenever I see that picture, I know there is a guilty secret hidden within it.’
      • ‘Another is that it's the phantom of a woman buried in the churchyard, who died with a guilty secret.’
      • ‘Are roguelike games some kind of guilty, secret pleasure for those of you who play them?’
      • ‘It is only when we learn of his guilty secret and hidden background that the casting provokes deep reservations.’


  • not guilty

    • Innocent, especially of a formal charge.

      • ‘The jury found him not guilty on a rape charge on the directions of the judge.’
      • ‘He had earlier been found not guilty on charges of damaging an aircraft so as to endanger its safety in flight.’
      • ‘The jury at Glasgow High Court found him not guilty of two other charges of abusing a third boy and a young girl.’
      • ‘He appeared in court in December that year and pleaded not guilty to a riot charge.’
      • ‘He has pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of taking possession of the weapons.’
      • ‘A person who has been found not guilty is innocent in the eyes of the criminal law.’
      • ‘If, at the end of the day, they are found not guilty of the charge, then all hail to them.’
      • ‘He pleaded not guilty to a further charge of possessing amphetamines with intent to supply.’
      • ‘He pleads not guilty to four charges of causing death by dangerous driving.’
      • ‘He pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared at the Old Bailey on January 14.’
      guiltless, guilt-free, not guilty, blameless, not to blame, in the clear, unimpeachable, irreproachable, above suspicion, beyond criticism, without fault, faultless
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Old English gyltig (see guilt, -y).