Definitions

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

  • n. The fact of being responsible for the commission of an offense. See Synonyms at blame.
  • n. Law Culpability for a crime or lesser breach of regulations that carries a legal penalty.
  • n. Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong.
  • n. Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.
  • n. Guilty conduct; sin.
  • transitive v. To make or try to make (someone) feel guilty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Responsibility for wrongdoing.
  • n. Awareness of having done wrong.
  • n. The fact of having done wrong.
  • n. The state of having been found guilty or admitted guilt in legal proceedings.
  • v. To commit offenses; act criminally.
  • v. To cause someone to feel guilt, particularly in order to influence their behaviour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The criminality and consequent exposure to punishment resulting from willful disobedience of law, or from morally wrong action; the state of one who has broken a moral or political law; crime; criminality; offense against right.
  • n. Exposure to any legal penalty or forfeiture.
  • n. A feeling of regret or remorse for having committed some improper act; a recognition of one's own responsibility for doing something wrong.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To commit offenses; act criminally.
  • An obsolete spelling of gilt.
  • n. A fault; an offense; a guilty action; a crime.
  • n. That state of a moral agent which results from his commission of a crime or an offense wilfully or by consent; culpability arising from conscious violation of moral or penal law, either by positive act or by neglect of known duty; criminality; wickedness.
  • n. Technical or constructive criminality; exposure to forfeiture or other penalty.

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

  • n. the state of having committed an offense
  • n. remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense

Etymologies

Middle English gilt, from Old English gylt, crime.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English gilten, gylten, from Old English gyltan ("to commit sin, be guilty"), from gylt ("guilt, sin, offense, crime, fault"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • II. ii.56 (444,8) gild the faces of the grooms withal,/For it must seem their guilt] Could Shakespeare possibly mean to play upon the similitude of _gild_ and _guilt_.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • And this is that which we call guilt, which is an inward vexation, and discontent, and grief of mind, arising from the consciousness that we have done amiss, and a fearful apprehension of some vengeance and punishment that will follow it; and there is no trouble that is comparable to this, when the conscience of

    The Works of Dr. John Tillotson, Late Archbishop of Canterbury. Vol. 09.

  • LUI: A former '60s radical speaks out about Barack Obama, the presidential campaign and what he calls guilt by association.

    CNN Transcript Dec 7, 2008

  • Intellectualism sees what it calls the guilt, when comminuted in the finite object; but is too near-sighted to see it in the more enormous object.

    A Pluralistic Universe Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College on the Present Situation in Philosophy

  • God does not cut off the wicked at once, but waits till their guilt is at its full (so as to the Amorites 'iniquity, Ge 15: 16), to show forth His own long-suffering, and the justice of their doom who have so long abused it (Mt 13: 27-30, 38, 40; Re 14: 15-19).

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Here, we are also dealing with what I call a "guilt window," when a settlement deal could be more generous to her.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • The observation may be extended further, and put thus: even without determining what that is which we call guilt or innocence, there is no man but would choose, after having had the pleasure or advantage of a vicious action, to be free of the guilt of it, to be in the state of an innocent man.

    Human Nature and Other Sermons

  • It hurts, but it’s a hurt I should feel, that I need to feel, not because wallowing in guilt is useful but because if nothing else it is a reminder that I am privileged, and that just as straight people, white people, and men have an obligation to help end their oppression of queers, people of colour, and women — I have an obligation to help end my oppression of the dis/abled.

    re:appropriate « Love | Peace | Ohana

  • The term guilt always supposes personal transgression, except in technical theology, from which we would banish it.’’ —

    Christian Doctrine of Sin

  • Being to act contrary to them in any case, would be to create disquiet and disturbance to itself: for this is a certain rule, and never fails, that nothing can act contrary to its own nature without reluctancy and displeasure, which in moral agents is that which we call guilt; for guilt is nothing else but the trouble and disquiet which ariseth in one's mind, from the consciousness of having done something which is contrary to the perfective principles of his being; that is, something that doth not become him, and which, being what he is, he ought not to have done; which we cannot imagine ever to befal so perfect and immutable a being as God is.

    The Works of Dr. John Tillotson, Late Archbishop of Canterbury. Vol. 06.

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.