- the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.
- a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
- conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.
Origin of guilt
- the fact or state of having done wrong or committed an offence
- responsibility for a criminal or moral offence deserving punishment or a penalty
- remorse or self-reproach caused by feeling that one is responsible for a wrong or offence
- archaic sin or crime
Word Origin and History for guilts
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.
"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."