criminal


criminal
criminal n Criminal, felon, convict, malefactor, culprit, delinquent mean, in common, one guilty of a transgression or an offense especially against the law.
Criminal designates one who commits some serious violation of the law, of public trust, or of common decency, as vicious unwarranted attack, embezzlement, or murder.
Felon, the legal term for one popularly called a criminal, designates one guilty of a felony, which used with legal exactness covers all lawbreaking punishable by death or prolonged confinement (as in a state penitentiary) and is distinguished from a misdemeanor
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men were transported with the worst felons for poaching a few hares or pheasants— Shaw

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the casual or accidental felon who is impelled into a misdeed by force of circumstances— Banay

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Convict basically denotes one convicted of a crime or felony but has come more generally to signify any person serving a long prison term
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the stranger turned out to be a convict who had escaped on the way to prison

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a riot among convicts in a state penitentiary

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Malefactor signifies one who has committed an evil deed or serious offense but suggests little or no relation to courts or punishment
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most of our malefactors, from statesmen to thieves— T. S. Eliot

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a malefactor robbing small stores at night and setting fire to them

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Culprit often carries the weakened sense of one guilty of a crime
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after the series of crimes, the police tried for several weeks to find the culprit

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but more generally either suggests a trivial fault or offense, especially of a child
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the culprits were two boys, one about twelve years old, the other about ten— Green Peyton

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or applies to a person or thing that causes some undesirable condition or situation
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another group of supposed culprits who are being blamed for the present inflationary situation— Waage

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the culprit holding up world peace and understanding— Lydgate

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Delinquent applies to an offender against duty or the law especially in a degree not constituting crime; in its present semilegal use, in application to juvenile offenders against civil or moral law, it usually implies a habitual tendency to commit certain offenses and contrasts with criminal in implying a sociological or psychological rather than judicial attitude toward the offender
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whether a customer who has missed a payment is ... a habitual delinquentPhelps

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we label as delinquents those who do not conform to the legal and moral codes of society— Federal Probation

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Analogous words: offender, sinner (see corresponding nouns at OFFENSE): transgressor, trespasser, violator (see corresponding nouns at BREACH)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Criminal — Crim i*nal (kr?m ? nal), a. [L. criminalis, fr. crimen: cf. F. criminel. See {Crime}.] 1. Guilty of crime or sin. [1913 Webster] The neglect of any of the relative duties renders us criminal in the sight of God. Rogers. [1913 Webster] 2.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • criminal — (Del lat. criminālis). 1. adj. Perteneciente o relativo al crimen o que de él toma origen. 2. Dicho de una ley, de un instituto o de una acción: Destinado a perseguir y castigar los crímenes o delitos. 3. Que ha cometido o procurado cometer un… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

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