Definition of indictment in English:



  • 1North American A formal charge or accusation of a serious crime.

    ‘an indictment for conspiracy’
    • ‘Originally, it was intended that the charge should feature on and be tried at the same time as the indictment for murder.’
    • ‘The appellant was charged on a separate indictment with criminal involvement in the two drug importations in April and May 1996.’
    • ‘You will remember that the date on the indictment for the commencement of this alleged conspiracy is the date that appears on the rent book.’
    • ‘What obstacle would there then have been to the presentation of an indictment for the extradition offence?’
    • ‘Under the agreement, the military is not obliged to turn over personnel accused of crimes until a formal indictment has been made.’
    • ‘He failed to secure an indictment for public nuisance from the county grand jury and was denied damage awards by two trial juries.’
    • ‘They presented the indictment and brought the charges on behalf of the Commonwealth.’
    charge, accusation, arraignment, citation, summons
    allegation, imputation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The action of indicting or being indicted.
      ‘the indictment of twelve people who had imported cocaine’
      • ‘If they are convicted on indictment before a higher court they can be hit with an unlimited fine and/or up to five years in jail.’
      • ‘In many of these instances, there was no trial, or even indictment - the suspects were detained nevertheless.’
      • ‘This offence is punishable with up to ten years' imprisonment following conviction on indictment.’
      • ‘Conviction on indictment can attract a fine of £10,000 or two years in prison.’
      • ‘The count on which he was convicted was the first count of a three count indictment.’
      • ‘It is my submission that the matter is, at its simplest level, where a person is not convicted on indictment he is convicted summarily.’
      • ‘That policy changed following the government's indictment, he said.’
  • 2A thing that serves to illustrate that a system or situation is bad and deserves to be condemned.

    ‘these rapidly escalating crime figures are an indictment of our society’
    • ‘This situation is an indictment on the communities we all live in, and the ball has bounced back to within the walls of Parliament.’
    • ‘As a statement of fact, it is a shocking indictment of our society after a period of relative wealth by comparison with other nations.’
    • ‘It's a woeful indictment of a hopeless situation.’
    • ‘Its existence is not an indictment of society, nor are there any massive social transitions which could abolish it.’
    • ‘I feel that it is a sad indictment of our society that prostitution, in its current form, is considered a satisfactory form of social remedy.’
    • ‘It is an indictment on our society that we are pigeon holed when we reach 60-65.’
    • ‘It is an indictment of the society, but of course there are individuals who are not corrupt, but there is always a shaving off factor.’
    • ‘Whether you take that as an indictment of the school system, or of the world, depends on your point of view.’
    • ‘A powerful indictment of the system, it errs on the side of cartoonish overstatement once or twice but overall is well worth seeing.’
    • ‘It is an indictment of our childcare system that the childcare debate only makes the news when there are allegations of abuse.’
    • ‘I have never and would never advocate violence as a solution to any problem but it is a sad indictment of our system that in the end it was the only way out for us.’
    • ‘It is a terrible indictment of the system that she has felt unable to report the crime to the police.’
    • ‘That appears to be a strong indictment of the situation which has developed over the past few years.’
    • ‘More than anything, however, it is a damning indictment on the legal system at that time.’
    • ‘It also serves as a bold indictment of the inhumane asylum regulations that refugees encounter on entry to countries like Britain.’
    • ‘‘These are outrageous figures and a sad indictment of the society we are now living in,’ he said.’
    • ‘He produced numerous pieces that are bitter indictments of the health-care system and the pharmaceutical industry.’
    • ‘The documentary seemed more of an indictment of the star system.’
    • ‘Needing to prove that compassion is not a luxury but a fundamental requirement of a healthcare system is a damning indictment of our current ways of thinking.’
    • ‘Later in the year a young woman rower committed suicide because not enough people cared and of all indictments of a sporting system this was the most tragic.’


Middle English enditement, inditement, from Anglo-Norman French enditement, from enditer (see indict).