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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 classic literature ?
When she realized whither her thoughts led, she blushed guiltily in the darkness.
The listener started, guiltily, too; for she thought there was another listener among the trees.
And then the red had the appearance of fading out of it and mounting up to Heaven, as we say that blood, guiltily shed, does.
Such matters were only whispered, guiltily swept under the carpet or ignored.
She smiled hopefully, and a tad guiltily, as her fruity deception was admitted.
Victoria looks on guiltily as Harriet |suggests Laurel injured Ashley
Libby McArthur (another fellow judge) and I kept catching each other's eyes and laughing guiltily.
Two we've loved to hate (and guiltily enjoyed): the Katies.
Meltem is a trained cook with aspirations to become a TV chef, so when she suggested that they would cook a meal for a group of us, we were happy to leap at the chance (even while I thought guiltily that the boot should surely have been on the other foot as they were the guests).
Both Kris and Leah are shocked as Brandon just sits there guiltily admitting the fact but Brody declares that it had been a long time ago.
I stayed guiltily down the garden with the dog, until it seemed safe to slink back inside to face the music.
Omar has been described as Shakespearean, and, yes, there are little hints of that -- a "balcony" scene with his Juliet, Nadja; a hand guiltily washing off spilt blood.