[dih-ling-kwuh nt]


failing in or neglectful of a duty or obligation; guilty of a misdeed or offense.
(of an account, tax, debt, etc.) past due; overdue.
of or relating to delinquents or delinquency: delinquent attitudes.


a person who is delinquent.

Origin of delinquent

1475–85; < Latin dēlinquent-; see delinquency
Related formsde·lin·quent·ly, adverbnon·de·lin·quent, adjectivepre·de·lin·quent, adjectivepre·de·lin·quent·ly, adverbun·de·lin·quent, adjectiveun·de·lin·quent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for delinquent

Contemporary Examples of delinquent

Historical Examples of delinquent

  • There was time for no more, and Saunders proceeded to summon the delinquent.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • They were the wife, the mother, and the children of the delinquent.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • Oswald now hopes that English justice will not be delinquent.

    Oswald Langdon

    Carson Jay Lee

  • He may slowly and cautiously, and even tenderly approach a delinquent.

    The Teacher

    Jacob Abbott

  • Gilian left the book where it lay to conceal from those behind that he had been the delinquent.

British Dictionary definitions for delinquent



someone, esp a young person, guilty of delinquencySee juvenile delinquent
archaic a person who fails in an obligation or duty


guilty of an offence or misdeed, esp one of a minor nature
failing in or neglectful of duty or obligation
Derived Formsdelinquently, adverb

Word Origin for delinquent

C17: from Latin dēlinquēns offending; see delinquency
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 delinquent

late 15c., from Middle French délinquant, from present participle of délinquer (15c.), and directly from Latin delinquentum (nominative delinquens), present participle of delinquere "to fail; be wanting, fall short; offend," from de- "completely" (see de-) + linquere "to leave" (see relinquish). As an adjective, from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper