Definition of indictment in English:



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

    ‘an indictment for conspiracy’
    • ‘They presented the indictment and brought the charges on behalf of the Commonwealth.’
    • ‘He failed to secure an indictment for public nuisance from the county grand jury and was denied damage awards by two trial juries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    charge, accusation, arraignment, citation, summons
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The action of indicting or being indicted.
      ‘the indictment of twelve people who had imported cocaine’
      • ‘It is my submission that the matter is, at its simplest level, where a person is not convicted on indictment he is convicted summarily.’
      • ‘The count on which he was convicted was the first count of a three count indictment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Conviction on indictment can attract a fine of £10,000 or two years in prison.’
      • ‘In many of these instances, there was no trial, or even indictment - the suspects were detained nevertheless.’
      • ‘That policy changed following the government's indictment, he said.’
      • ‘This offence is punishable with up to ten years' imprisonment following conviction on indictment.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 also serves as a bold indictment of the inhumane asylum regulations that refugees encounter on entry to countries like Britain.’
    • ‘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 is an indictment on our society that we are pigeon holed when we reach 60-65.’
    • ‘He produced numerous pieces that are bitter indictments of the health-care system and the pharmaceutical industry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That appears to be a strong indictment of the situation which has developed over the past few years.’
    • ‘‘These are outrageous figures and a sad indictment of the society we are now living in,’ he said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘More than anything, however, it is a damning indictment on the legal system at that time.’
    • ‘This situation is an indictment on the communities we all live in, and the ball has bounced back to within the walls of Parliament.’
    • ‘Whether you take that as an indictment of the school system, or of the world, depends on your point of view.’
    • ‘Its existence is not an indictment of society, nor are there any massive social transitions which could abolish it.’
    • ‘It is a terrible indictment of the system that she has felt unable to report the crime to the police.’
    • ‘It's a woeful indictment of a hopeless situation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The documentary seemed more of an indictment of the star system.’


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