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From Middle English gilty, gulty, from Old English gyltiġ (offending, guilty), equivalent to guilt +‎ -y.


  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɡɪl.ti/, [ˈɡɪl.ti]
  • Rhymes: -ɪlti


guilty (comparative guiltier, superlative guiltiest)

  1. Responsible for a dishonest act.
    He was guilty of cheating at cards.
  2. (law) Judged to have committed a crime.
    The guilty man was led away.
  3. Having a sense of guilt.
    Do you have a guilty conscience?
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.
  4. Blameworthy.
    I have a guilty secret.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      At twilight in the summer [] the mice come out. They [] eat the luncheon crumbs. Mr. Checkly, for instance, always brought his dinner in a paper parcel in his coat-tail pocket, and ate it when so disposed, sprinkling crumbs lavishly—the only lavishment of which he was ever guilty—on the floor.



Related terms[edit]



guilty (plural guilties)

  1. (law) A plea by a defendant who does not contest a charge.
  2. (law) A verdict of a judge or jury on a defendant judged to have committed a crime.
  3. One who is declared guilty of a crime.
    • 1997, David Brinkley, “June 5, 1983”, in Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion[1], →ISBN, page 32:
      The not guilties walked out and went to work if they had jobs; the guilties were hauled away to spend maybe thirty days on the county farm growing cabbage.