1. of the nature of or involving crime.
  2. guilty of crime.
  3. Law. of or relating to crime or its punishment: a criminal proceeding.
  4. senseless; foolish: It's criminal to waste so much good food.
  5. exorbitant; grossly overpriced: They charge absolutely criminal prices.
  1. a person guilty or convicted of a crime.

Origin of criminal

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French < Late Latin crīminālis, equivalent to Latin crīmin- (stem of crīmen; see crime) + -ālis -al1
Related formscrim·i·nal·ly, adverbnon·crim·i·nal, adjective, nounnon·crim·i·nal·ly, adverbqua·si-crim·i·nal, adjectivequa·si-crim·i·nal·ly, adverbsub·crim·i·nal, adjectivesub·crim·i·nal·ly, adverbsu·per·crim·i·nal, adjective, nounsu·per·crim·i·nal·ly, adverbun·crim·i·nal, adjectiveun·crim·i·nal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for criminal

1. felonious, unlawful. See illegal. 6. malefactor, evildoer, transgressor, culprit, felon, crook, hoodlum, gangster.

Antonyms for criminal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for noncriminal


  1. a person charged with and convicted of crime
  2. a person who commits crimes for a living
  1. of, involving, or guilty of crime
  2. (prenominal) of or relating to crime or its punishmentcriminal court; criminal lawyer
  3. informal senseless or deplorablea criminal waste of money
Derived Formscriminally, adverb

Word Origin for criminal

C15: from Late Latin crīminālis; see crime, -al 1
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 noncriminal



early 15c., from Middle French criminel (11c.), from Latin criminalis "pertaining to crime," from crimen (genitive criminis); see crime. Preserves the Latin -n-. Criminal law (or criminal justice) distinguished from civil in English at least since late 15c.



1620s, from criminal (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper