guilt

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English gilt, gult, from Old English gylt (guilt, sin, offense, crime, fault), of obscure origin. Perhaps connected with Old English ġieldan (to yield, pay, pay for, reward, requite, render, worship, serve, sacrifice to, punish). See yield.

Noun[edit]

guilt (uncountable)

  1. Responsibility for wrongdoing.
  2. Awareness of having done wrong.
  3. The fact of having done wrong.
  4. (law) The state of having been found guilty or admitted guilt in legal proceedings.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English gilten, gylten, from Old English gyltan (to commit sin, be guilty), from gylt (guilt, sin, offense, crime, fault).

Verb[edit]

guilt (third-person singular simple present guilts, present participle guilting, simple past and past participle guilted)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To commit offenses; act criminally.
  2. (transitive) To cause someone to feel guilt, particularly in order to influence their behaviour.
    He didn't want to do it, but his wife guilted him into it.
    • 1988, John Bradshaw, Healing the shame that binds you,
      Shame based parents would have guilted him for expressing anger.
    • 1992, Melody Beattie, Codependent No More: how to stop controlling others and start caring for yourself,
      We don't have to be manipulated, guilted, coerced, or forced into anything.
    • 1995, Nora Roberts, True Betrayals,
      But I won't be threatened or bribed or guilted into giving up something that's important to me.