Definition of criminal in US English:

criminal

noun

  • A person who has committed a crime.

    ‘these men are dangerous criminals’
    • ‘They were just thugs and criminals who have now seen that justice can and will be done.’
    • ‘One of the uses of capital punishment is to deter other criminals from committing more crimes.’
    • ‘They are tough on crime and criminals but what they can't contemplate are the causes.’
    • ‘Nor is it a police action against a random assortment of criminals or criminal gangs.’
    • ‘This is the most horrible crime in humanity that's been committed by those criminals.’
    • ‘People are fed up that when the police do catch criminals the punishment never seems to fit the crime.’
    • ‘We join forces with others to reduce crime, the number of criminals and victims.’
    • ‘They are anxious not to upset anybody these days, even thugs and criminals.’
    • ‘The idea was to deter criminals with the ever-present threat of death for their crimes.’
    • ‘Of course they can be dangerous if used by criminals or the criminally irresponsible.’
    • ‘Most heroin users were criminals who committed crimes before they ever used drugs.’
    • ‘They all folded up on themselves and became a puzzle of incongruous crimes and criminals.’
    • ‘There are few offenders more despicable than criminals who prey on the elderly and infirm.’
    • ‘Why do we single out sex offenders as necessarily different from other criminals?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A threat as harsh as death to all that commit a serious crime would deter some criminals.’
    • ‘I would also say that criminals who commit the most severe crimes lose their right to live.’
    • ‘As I said before these people are criminals and murderers and should be treated as such.’
    • ‘Crime is flexible and criminals would soon find a way of dealing with greater surveillance.’
    lawbreaker, offender, villain, delinquent, malefactor, culprit, wrongdoer, transgressor, sinner
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adjective

  • 1Relating to crime.

    ‘they are charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage’
    ‘a criminal offense’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was subject to a community rehabilitation order imposed just six weeks earlier for criminal damage offences.’
    • ‘The barrister also says that his actions could amount to conspiracy to commit criminal damage.’
    • ‘Previously we have addressed burglary, criminal damage and speeding vehicles.’
    • ‘This has been attributed to a rise in criminal damages offences which made up a quarter of all recorded crime.’
    • ‘If that is the case then it is a criminal offence and a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.’
    • ‘They have admitted conspiracy to commit criminal damage to motor vehicles.’
    • ‘He called on the public to report any instances of criminal damage or vandalism.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Burglary, theft, criminal damage and robbery showed a seven per cent reduction.’
    • ‘After the verdict, he revealed that Bailey had a long record for theft, criminal damage and car crime.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said the dozen were being held in relation to suspected offences of assault and criminal damage.’
    • ‘Sentences handed out would be geared to local crime priorities such as graffiti, criminal damage and car crime.’
    • ‘Reports of criminal damage and persistent vandalism were also relayed to councillors.’
    • ‘He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each of the spamming and criminal conspiracy offences.’
    • ‘When he broke into Ray's house, Martin could be committing the crimes of burglary and criminal damage.’
    • ‘The community does not report offences of criminal damage to police as they apparently show little interest.’
    • ‘Making homosexuality illegal or a criminal offence does not make it disappear.’
    • ‘She had previously pleaded guilty to several offences, including shoplifting and criminal damage to a taxi.’
    unlawful, illegal, against the law, illicit, illegitimate, lawbreaking, lawless, felonious, delinquent, culpable, villainous, nefarious, corrupt, fraudulent
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    1. 1.1Law Relating to crime as opposed to civil matters.
      ‘a criminal court’
      • ‘It is important to note, however, that the right covers civil as well as criminal litigation.’
      • ‘These offices are civil judges, criminal judges and administrative judges.’
      • ‘The duty may be enforced by either civil or criminal proceedings against the parents.’
      • ‘It authorizes the court to issue an order, backed by civil and criminal sanctions, for a monthly allowance.’
      • ‘Should the rules for disclosure be different for civil and criminal matters?’
      • ‘Two cases brought before the criminal appeal court were lost yesterday.’
      • ‘Whether it be a criminal trial or a civil matter, it is the way things look.’
      • ‘Is there some statutory provision in this State that governs costs in criminal matters?’
      • ‘It is also worth noting that each of these sources of law can provide for both civil and criminal rules.’
      • ‘The principles applied by the civil / criminal court are sound and based on experience and aim at doing justice.’
      • ‘The legal system is based on the French model, with both civil and criminal courts.’
      • ‘The Court specifically set out to deal with criminal matters even though it was an extradition case.’
      • ‘The normal rule is that the Crown does not ask for nor pay the costs unless statute provides for it in criminal matters.’
      • ‘So just what is this court that can produce results at a rate civil and criminal courts could only marvel at?’
      • ‘He was a great judge in criminal matters and he knew about Parliament.’
      • ‘The police say they are still ‘trying to sort out whether it is a criminal or a civil matter’.’
      • ‘The order is not a sentence, but a civil restriction which criminal courts can now grant when passing sentence.’
      • ‘He said that filing a civil claim during a criminal trial was standard court procedure.’
      • ‘In the criminal court, if matters are not heard within 18 months, they are thrown out.’
      • ‘Can disciplinary proceedings be taken for the same offence after an acquittal in the criminal courts?’
    2. 1.2informal (of an action or situation) deplorable and shocking.
      ‘he may never fulfill his potential, and that would be a criminal waste’
      deplorable, preposterous, shameful, reprehensible, disgraceful, inexcusable, unforgivable, unpardonable, unacceptable
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

criminal

/ˈkrim(ə)n(ə)l//ˈkrɪm(ə)n(ə)l/