from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, involving, or having the nature of crime.
  • adjective Relating to the administration of penal law.
  • adjective Guilty of crime.
  • adjective Characteristic of a criminal.
  • adjective Shameful; disgraceful.
  • noun One that has committed or been legally convicted of a crime.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Synonyms Culprit, malefactor,evil-doer, transgressor, felon, convict.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who has commited a crime; especially, one who is found guilty by verdict, confession, or proof; a malefactor; a felon.
  • adjective Guilty of crime or sin.
  • adjective Involving a crime; of the nature of a crime; -- said of an act or of conduct.
  • adjective Relating to crime; -- opposed to civil.
  • adjective (Law) an action or suit instituted to secure conviction and punishment for a crime.
  • adjective (Law) unlawful intercourse with a married woman; adultery; -- usually abbreviated, crim. con.
  • adjective the law which relates to crimes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English, from Old French criminel, from Late Latin crīminālis, from Latin crīmen, crīmin-, accusation; see crime.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman criminal, from Late Latin criminalis, from Latin crimen ("crime")


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  • "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"

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