adjective, guilt·i·er, guilt·i·est.
  1. having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; justly subject to a certain accusation or penalty; culpable: The jury found her guilty of murder.
  2. characterized by, connected with, or involving guilt: guilty intent.
  3. having or showing a sense of guilt, whether real or imagined: a guilty conscience.

Origin of guilty

before 1000; Middle English; Old English gyltig. See guilt, -y1
Related formsguilt·i·ly, adverbguilt·i·ness, nouno·ver·guilt·y, adjectivequa·si-guilt·i·ly, adverbqua·si-guilt·y, adjective

Synonyms for guilty Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for guiltily

Contemporary Examples of guiltily

Historical Examples of guiltily

  • She dropped them guiltily as K. rose with the paper in his hand.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "It was—well, it was Loosh—or—ah—Looshy" he admitted, guiltily.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • They both started as if guiltily, and Cutler said sharply: "To hurt whom?"

  • She's a brick, and I feel so guiltily aware of tricking her.

    Jane Journeys On

    Ruth Comfort Mitchell

  • He was not only innocent, but deplorably—I might even say guiltily—innocent.

British Dictionary definitions for guiltily


adjective guiltier or guiltiest
  1. responsible for an offence or misdeed
  2. law having committed an offence or adjudged to have done sothe accused was found guilty
  3. plead guilty law (of a person charged with an offence) to admit responsibility; confess
  4. of, showing, or characterized by guilta guilty smile; guilty pleasures
Derived Formsguiltily, adverbguiltiness, noun
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 guiltily



Old English gyltig, from gylt (see guilt (n.)). Of conscience, feelings, etc., 1590s. Meaning "person who is guilty" is from 1540s. To plead not guilty is from 15c.; to plead guilty is 19c., though, as OED notes, "Guilty is technically not a plea, but a confession."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper