One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1with object To prove (a person) guilty of a crime; to incriminate. Occasionally without object.
2with object To represent (a thing or action) as criminal; to censure; to condemn. Now rare.
3with object To accuse of or charge with a crime; to denounce. Compare criminate. Now rare.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), philosopher. From classical Latin crīmināt-, past participial stem of crīminārī or crīmināre to accuse, charge with crime from crīmin-, crīmen. Compare Middle French criminer to accuse.
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