[ in-dahyt ]
/ ɪnˈdaɪt /
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See synonyms for: indict / indicted / indicter on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)

(of a grand jury) to bring a formal accusation against, as a means of bringing to trial: The grand jury indicted him for murder.
to charge with an offense or crime; accuse of wrongdoing; incriminate; condemn: He tends to indict everyone of plotting against him.



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Origin of indict

First recorded in 1620–30; variant spelling (from Medieval Latin ) of indite


in·dict·ee [in-dahy-tee], /ɪnˌdaɪˈti/, nounin·dict·er, in·dict·or, nounre·in·dict, verb (used with object)


indict , indite
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does indict mean?

To indict someone is to officially charge them with a crime that will be the subject of a criminal trial.

Indicting a suspect is the final step in the evidence-gathering process before a person is put on trial for a serious crime, especially a felony. The official announcement of this accusation is called an indictment. In the U.S., such indictments are presented by a grand jury—the group of people responsible for determining whether there is enough evidence of a crime for a suspect to be put on trial.

Indict can also be used in a more general way, outside of a legal context, to mean to accuse or strongly criticize, or to reveal something as being deserving of criticism. The noun indictment can also be used in this more general sense.

Example: The suspect has been indicted for armed robbery and will face trial next month.

Where does indict come from?

The first records of the word indict come from around 1300. It ultimately comes from the Latin indīctus, a form of the verb indīcere, meaning “to announce” or “to proclaim.”

To indict is to formally announce a criminal accusation against someone. An indictment is issued only after a prosecutor and a grand jury have determined that police investigators have gathered enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. In the U.S. and the U.K., the law requires an indictment in order to charge someone with a serious crime or felony. This process is intended to ensure that a case only goes to trial if there is sufficient evidence.

Outside of the courtroom, indict is often used in the context of strong criticism of serious wrongdoing, especially when it’s delivered in a formal way, as in Today’s opinion piece indicts the administration’s decision-making. In this sense, to indict isn’t always to make a statement—someone’s bad behavior could indict their character.

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What are some other forms related to indict?

  • indictment (noun)
  • indictable (adjective)
  • indictee (noun)
  • indicter (noun)
  • indictor (noun)
  • reindict (verb)
  • unindicted (adjective)

What are some synonyms for indict?

What are some words that share a root or word element with indict

What are some words that often get used in discussing indict?

What are some words indict may be commonly confused with?

How is indict used in real life?

Indict is usually used in the context of serious crimes or wrongdoing.



Try using indict!

True or False?

Suspects are indicted at the end of a criminal trial.

Example sentences from the Web for indict

British Dictionary definitions for indict

/ (ɪnˈdaɪt) /


(tr) to charge (a person) with crime, esp formally in writing; accuse

Derived forms of indict

indictee, nounindicter or indictor, noun

Word Origin for indict

C14: alteration of enditen to indite

undefined indict

See indite
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