[ krim-uh-nl ]
See synonyms for: criminalcriminalscriminally on

  1. of the nature of or involving crime.

  2. guilty of crime.

  1. Law. of or relating to crime or its punishment: a criminal proceeding.

  2. senseless; foolish: It's criminal to waste so much good food.

  3. exorbitant; grossly overpriced: They charge absolutely criminal prices.

  1. a person guilty or convicted of a crime.

Origin of criminal

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin crīminālis, from Latin crīmin- (stem of crīmen “accusation, blame, charge”; see crime) + -ālis -al1

synonym study For criminal

1. See illegal.

Other words for criminal

Opposites for criminal

Other words from criminal

  • crim·i·nal·ly, adverb
  • non·crim·i·nal, adjective, noun
  • non·crim·i·nal·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-crim·i·nal, adjective
  • qua·si-crim·i·nal·ly, adverb
  • sub·crim·i·nal, adjective
  • sub·crim·i·nal·ly, adverb
  • su·per·crim·i·nal, adjective, noun
  • su·per·crim·i·nal·ly, adverb
  • un·crim·i·nal, adjective
  • un·crim·i·nal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby criminal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use criminal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for criminal


/ (ˈkrɪmɪnəl) /

  1. a person charged with and convicted of crime

  2. a person who commits crimes for a living

  1. of, involving, or guilty of crime

  2. (prenominal) of or relating to crime or its punishment: criminal court; criminal lawyer

  1. informal senseless or deplorable: a criminal waste of money

Origin of criminal

C15: from Late Latin crīminālis; see crime, -al 1

Derived forms of criminal

  • criminally, adverb

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