charged with a crime, wrongdoing, fault, etc.: the accused boy.


a person or persons charged in a court of law with a crime, offense, etc. (often preceded by the).

Origin of accused

First recorded in 1585–95; accuse + -ed2
Related formsmis·ac·cused, adjectiveself-ac·cused, adjectiveun·ac·cused, adjective



verb (used with object), ac·cused, ac·cus·ing.

to charge with the fault, offense, or crime (usually followed by of): He accused him of murder.
to find fault with; blame.

verb (used without object), ac·cused, ac·cus·ing.

to make an accusation.

Origin of accuse

1250–1300; Middle English ac(c)usen < Old French acuser < Latin accūsāre to call to account (ac- ac- + -cūs-, combining form of caus-; see cause)
Related formsac·cus·a·ble, adjectiveac·cus·a·bly, adverbac·cus·ant, nounac·cus·ing·ly, adverbin·ter·ac·cuse, verb (used with object), in·ter·ac·cused, in·ter·ac·cus·ing.non·ac·cus·ing, adjectivepre·ac·cuse, verb (used with object), pre·ac·cused, pre·ac·cus··ac·cuse, verb (used with object), re·ac·cused, re·ac·cus·ing.self-ac·cus·ing, adjectiveun·ac·cus·a·ble, adjectiveun·ac·cus·ing, adjectiveun·ac·cus·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedaccuse allege charge

Synonyms for accuse

Antonyms for accuse

1, 2. exonerate. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for accused

implicated, arraigned, indicted, liable

Examples from the Web for accused

Contemporary Examples of accused

Historical Examples of accused

  • He came a little toward the girl who had accused him of treachery.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It had been rather a long time since Christine had been accused of having a kind heart.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • She stood against the door, and accused them of cowardice—taunted them.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Witchcraft and sorcery he called it, and in Zuñi to be accused of witchcraft is death.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • What could be said in the accused man's defense, or in her own?


    W. A. Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for accused



the accused law the defendant or defendants appearing on a criminal charge



to charge (a person or persons) with some fault, offence, crime, etc; impute guilt or blame
Derived Formsaccuser, nounaccusing, adjectiveaccusingly, adverb

Word Origin for accuse

C13: via Old French from Latin accūsāre to call to account, from ad- to + causa lawsuit
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

Word Origin and History for accused

"person charged with a crime," 1590s, from past participle of accuse (v.).



c.1300, "charge (with an offense, etc.), impugn, blame," from Old French acuser "to accuse, indict, reproach, blame" (13c.), earlier "announce, report, disclose" (12c.), or directly from Latin accusare "to call to account," from ad- "against" (see ad-) + causari "give as a cause or motive," from causa "reason" (see cause (n.)). Related: Accused; accusing; accusingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper