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Blameworthy; culpable; having committed a tort or crime; devoid of innocence.

An individual is guilty if he or she is responsible for a delinquency or a criminal or civil offense. When an accused is willing to accept legal responsibility for a criminal act, he or she pleads guilty. Similarly, a jury returns a verdict of guilty upon finding that a defendant has committed a crime. In the event that a jury is not convinced that a defendant has committed a crime, jurors can return a verdict of not guilty, which does not mean that the individual is innocent or that the jurors are so convinced, but rather that they do not believe sufficient evidence has been presented to prove that the defendant is guilty.

In civil lawsuits, the term guilty does not imply criminal responsibility but refers to mis-conduct.


adj. having been convicted of a crime or having admitted the commission of a crime by pleading "guilty" (saying you did it). A defendant may also be found guilty by a judge after a plea of "no contest," or in Latin "nolo contendere." The term "guilty" is also sometimes applied to persons against whom a judgment has been found in a lawsuit for a civil wrong, such as negligence or some intentional act like assault or fraud, but that is a confusing misuse of the word since it should only apply to a criminal charge. (See: admission of guilt, cop a plea, plea bargain)


adjective at fault, blamable, blameworthy, chargeable, condemnable, criminal, criminous, culpable, delinquent, deserving of blame, deeerving of punishment, deserving reproof, erring, immutable, in error, in the wrong, incriminated, indictable, peccant, reprehensible, reproachable, reprovable, to blame, transgressing
Associated concepts: bail, conviction, find the defendant guilty, guilty as charged, guilty knowledge, guilty of the crime charged, guilty of wrongdoing, innocence, insanity, parole, plea of guilty, qualified plea of guilty, sentencing, verdict
See also: arrant, at fault, blameful, blameworthy, contrite, culpable, delinquent, diabolic, illicit, onerous, peccable, peccant, reprehensible, vicious


the plea by an accused that he accepts that he committed the offence charged or the finding to that effect by a court or jury. See also NOT GUILTY, NOT PROVEN.

GUILTY. The state or condition of a person who has committed a crime, misdemeanor or offence.
     2. This word implies a malicious intent, and must be applied to something universally allowed to be a crime. Cowp. 275.
     3. In pleading, it is a plea by which a defendant who is charged with a crime, misdemeanor or tort, admits or confesses it. In criminal proceedings, when the accused is arraigned, the clerk asks him,: How say you, A B, are you guilty or not guilty?" His answer, which is given ore tenus, is called his plea; and when he admits the charge in the indictment he answers or pleads guilty.

References in periodicals archive ?
The principle of guilt-revealing cleromancy is evident in drawing lots to determine the guiltiest of ten suspects in the case from the North American Dutch colony described in the introduction--God was believed to have indicated who was to be executed.
If you've never shot divers from a layout boat in open water, you're missing out on one of duck hunting's guiltiest pleasures.
Somewhere in Africa, the guiltiest of the people who appear to have no truck with history are politicians, especially the opposition type, those who aspire to leadership, and not just any leadership, but the presidency
Long prison sentences were freely handed out and a couple of the guiltiest culprits were eventually tried and executed for their role, measures that gradually assuaged popular anger.
If our witness to Christ's resurrection is to be consistent, we must oppose any obstacle to that reconciliation, including the murder of even the guiltiest of those made in God's image and likeness.
College presidents are usually the guiltiest parties, since they are in the best position to authorize expenditures, and many are more than happy to use school funds to burnish their own images.
One of the essayists, Martin van Creveld, is the guiltiest party.
I was probably the guiltiest person I've ever defended
We, as Americans, are the guiltiest of overusing products, and I believe this is because of lack of awareness.
Was it crass or inspired to kick off a series focusing on fat kids just as people are feeling their guiltiest after the Christmas Binge?
To hurl an insult like "self-hating" shows that one despises such teachings--so perhaps the name-callers are guiltiest of all.
The study said 57 per cent of Britons admitted their guiltiest pleasure was watching daytime TV or reality shows .