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guilt

[gilt]
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noun
  1. the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.
  2. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
  3. conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.
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verb (used with object) Informal.
  1. 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.
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Origin of guilt

before 1000; Middle English gilt, Old English gylt offense
Related formsnon·guilt, nounpre·guilt, noun
Can be confusedgild gilt guild guilt

Synonyms

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3. criminality.

Antonyms

1. innocence.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

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

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

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

    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

guilt

noun
  1. the fact or state of having done wrong or committed an offence
  2. responsibility for a criminal or moral offence deserving punishment or a penalty
  3. remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence
  4. archaic sin or crime
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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

Word Origin and History for guilt

n.

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.

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v.

"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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper