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[gilt] /gɪlt/
the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability:
He admitted his guilt.
a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.:
to live a life of guilt.
verb (used with object), Informal.
to cause to feel guilty (often followed by out or into):
She totally guilted me out, dude. He guilted me into picking up the tab.
See also guilt-trip.
Origin of guilt
before 1000; Middle English gilt, Old English gylt offense
Related forms
nonguilt, noun
preguilt, noun
Can be confused
gild, gilt, guild, guilt.
3. criminality.
1. innocence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for guilt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If Ben was morally guilty, he was forced into his guilt by law and general custom.

    Biography of a Slave Charles Thompson
  • He put his whole will into the assertion of guilt, to batter down the man's resistance.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • It was only by an effort that he shook off the vague feeling of guilt.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • But Uncle Lucien was so certain of the boy's guilt that he mistook his pride for impudence.

  • Whatever tends to extenuate the guilt of other sins, is an aggravation of this.

British Dictionary definitions for guilt


the fact or state of having done wrong or committed an offence
responsibility for a criminal or moral offence deserving punishment or a penalty
remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence
(archaic) sin or crime
Word Origin
Old English gylt, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for guilt

to make someone feel guilty, esp. in hopes of getting them to do something


He guilted her into calling her mother-in-law.'s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for guilt

Old English gylt "crime, sin, fault, fine," of unknown origin, though some suspect a connection to Old English gieldan "to pay for, debt," but OED editors find this "inadmissible phonologically." The mistaken use for "sense of guilt" is first recorded 1680s. Guilt by association recorded by 1919.


"to influence someone by appealing to his sense of guiltiness," by 1995, from guilt (n.). Related: Guilted; guilting. Old English also had a verbal form, gyltan "to commit an offense."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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