Definition of guilty in US English:



  • 1Culpable of or responsible for a specified wrongdoing.

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


See innocent and plead


  • not guilty

    • Innocent, especially of a formal charge.

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


Old English gyltig (see guilt, -y).