1. Of, involving, or having the nature of crime: criminal abuse.
2. Relating to the administration of penal law.
a. Guilty of crime.
b. Characteristic of a criminal.
4. Shameful; disgraceful: a criminal waste of talent.
One that has committed or been legally convicted of a crime.
[Middle English, from Old French criminel, from Late Latin crīminālis, from Latin crīmen, crīmin-, accusation; see CRIME.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.