Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, involving, or having the nature of crime: criminal abuse.
  • adj. Relating to the administration of penal law.
  • adj. Guilty of crime.
  • adj. Characteristic of a criminal.
  • adj. Shameful; disgraceful: a criminal waste of talent.
  • n. One that has committed or been legally convicted of a crime.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Being against the law; forbidden by law.
  • adj. Guilty of breaking the law.
  • adj. Of or relating to crime.
  • adj. Abhorrent or very undesirable, even if allowed by law.
  • adj. Of or relating to crime control, notably penal law.
  • n. A person who is guilty of a crime, notably breaking the law.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Guilty of crime or sin.
  • adj. Involving a crime; of the nature of a crime; -- said of an act or of conduct.
  • adj. Relating to crime; -- opposed to civil.
  • n. One who has commited a crime; especially, one who is found guilty by verdict, confession, or proof; a malefactor; a felon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to crime; relating to crime; having to do with crime or its punishment: as, a criminal action or case; a criminal sentence; a criminal code; criminal law; a criminal lawyer.
  • Of the nature of crime; marked by or involving crime; punishable by law, divine or human: as, theft is a criminal act.
  • Guilty of crime; connected with or engaged in committing crime.
  • Charges of offense against the public law of the state or nation, as distinguished from violations of municipal or local ordinances.
  • Synonyms Illegal, Criminal, Felonious, Sinful, Immoral, Wicked, Iniquitous, Depraved, Dissolute, Vicious, agree in characterizing an act as contrary to law, civil or moral. All except illegal and felonious are also applicable to persons, thoughts, character, etc. Illegal is simply that which is not permitted by human law, or is vitiated by lack of compliance with legal forms: as, an illegal election. It suggests penalty only remotely, if at all. Criminal applies to transgressions of human law, with especial reference to penalty. Felonious applies to that which is deliberately done in the consciousness that it is a crime; its other uses are nearly or quite obsolete. Sinful and the words that follow it mark transgression of the divine or moral law. Sinful does not admit the idea that there is a moral law separate from the divine will, but is specifically expressive of “any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the will of God” (Shorter Catechism, Q. 14). As such, it applies to thoughts, feelings, desires, character, while human law looks no further back of action than to intent (as, a criminal intent), and attempts to deal only with acts. Hence, though all men are sinful, all are not criminal. Immoral stands over against sinful in emphasizing the notion of a moral law, apart from the question of the divine will; its most frequent application is to transgressions of the moral code in regard to the indulgence of lust. Wicked bears the same relation to moral law that felonious bears to civil law; the wicked man does wrong wilfully and knowingly, and generally his conduct is very wrong. Iniquitous is wicked in relation to others' rights, and grossly unjust: as, a most iniquitous proceeding. Depraved implies a fall from a better character, not only into wickedness, but into such corruption that the person delights in evil for its own sake. Dissolute, literally, set loose or released, expresses the character, life, etc., of one who throws off all moral obligation. Vicious, starting with the notion of being addicted to vice, has a wide range of meaning, from cross to wicked; it is the only one of these words that may be applied to animals. See crime, atrocious, nefarious, and irreligious.
  • n. A person who has committed a punishable offense against public law; more particularly, a person convicted of a punishable public offense on proof or confession.
  • n. Synonyms Culprit, malefactor,evil-doer, transgressor, felon, convict.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who has committed a crime or has been legally convicted of a crime
  • adj. guilty of crime or serious offense
  • adj. involving or being or having the nature of a crime
  • adj. bringing or deserving severe rebuke or censure

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French criminel, from Late Latin crīminālis, from Latin crīmen, crīmin-, accusation; see crime.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman criminal, from Late Latin criminalis, from Latin crimen ("crime") (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Rickdog, are you *spamming* us?

    October 22, 2007

  • <iframe src="http://tinyurl.com/2cd93v" height="54"></iframe>

    October 22, 2007

  • "A criminal is a person with predatory instincts without sufficient capital to form a corporation." -Howard Scott

    October 4, 2007

  • "What I need is a good defense
    cause I'm feeling like a criminal.
    And I need to be redeemed
    To the one I sinned against
    Because he was all I ever knew of love"

    January 10, 2007