adjective, guilt·i·er, guilt·i·est.

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.
characterized by, connected with, or involving guilt: guilty intent.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for guilty

Contemporary Examples of guilty

Historical Examples of guilty

  • They left it on her breast, in the coffin, and it went with that guilty woman to the tomb.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • I must make it clear to myself that He does not shut me out of His heart because I am guilty of sins.

  • If he had been guilty, what was that to the cruel world so ready to punish, so ready to do worse!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • The easy thing to do was to find me guilty, and let it go at that.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But the discovery and punishment of the other guilty ones will.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for guilty


adjective guiltier or guiltiest

responsible for an offence or misdeed
law having committed an offence or adjudged to have done sothe accused was found guilty
plead guilty law (of a person charged with an offence) to admit responsibility; confess
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 guilty

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