criminalcrim‧i‧nal1 /ˈkrɪmɪnəl/ ●●●S3W2 adjective1SCCCRIMErelating to crimeExperts cannot agree on the causes of criminal behaviour.I was sure he was involved in some kind of criminal activity.She has not committed a criminal offence (=a crime).He was arrested and charged with criminal damage (=damaging someone’s property illegally).The doctor was found guilty of criminal negligence (=not taking enough care to protect people you are responsible for).2SCTrelating to the part of the legal system that is concerned with crime → civilThe case will be tried in a criminal court.We have no faith in the criminal justice system.The police are investigating the matter, and he may face criminal charges (=be officially accused of a crime).She usually deals with serious criminal cases.a criminal lawyer3BAD BEHAVIOUR OR ACTIONSwrong, dishonest, and unacceptableSYN wickedIt seems criminal that teachers are paid so little money. —criminally adverba hospital for the criminally insane —criminality /ˌkrɪməˈnæləti/ noun [uncountable]COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 1: relating to crimenounscriminal activityThere was no evidence of any criminal activity.a criminal offence/act (=a crime)Cruelty to animals is a criminal offence.criminal behaviourIs it possible that the tendency to criminal behaviour is inherited?criminal wrongdoing American English (=actions that are illegal)The investigation cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing.criminal damage British English (=damaging someone's property illegally)He was charged with criminal damage to his boss's car.criminal negligence (=not taking enough care to protect people you are responsible for)Charges of criminal negligence were brought against senior staff.a criminal investigation (=when a possible crime is investigated)The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into the bombing.COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: relating to the part of the legal system that is concerned with crimenounsthe criminal justice systemHow effective is our criminal justice system?criminal lawI’m more interested in criminal law than civil law.a criminal charge (=an official accusation that someone has committed a crime)He’s been arrested on a very serious criminal charge.a criminal record (=a record, kept by the police, of the crimes someone has committed)It can be hard for someone with a criminal record to find work.a criminal caseThe crown court usually deals with criminal cases.a criminal trialHis year-long criminal trial ended in October.criminal proceedings (=actions to deal with criminals, such as charging people with crimes or bringing them to trial)Criminal proceedings have been started against the officers connected with the events.a criminal courtThe trial will take place in an international criminal court.a criminal lawyer (=who deals with criminal cases)
criminalcriminal2 ●●●W3 noun [countable]SCCsomeone who is involved in illegal activities or has been proved guilty of a crime → offenderPolice have described the man as a violent and dangerous criminal.a convicted criminal (=someone who has been found guilty of a crime)The new law will ensure that habitual criminals (=criminals who commit crimes repeatedly) receive tougher punishments than first-time offenders.Teenagers should not be sent to prison to mix with hardened criminals (=criminals who have committed and will continue to commit a lot of crimes).THESAURUScriminal someone who is involved in illegal activities or has been proved guilty of a crime. Criminal is used especially about someone who often does things that are illegalCriminals are stealing people's credit card details off the Internet.He is one of the most wanted criminals in the United States.offender someone who breaks the lawThe courts should impose tougher punishments on offenders. a special prison for young offenderscrook informal a dishonest person, especially one who steals money and who you cannot trustSome politicians are crooks, but not all of them.They're just a bunch of crooks.felon law especially American English someone who has committed a serious crimeConvicted felons should not be allowed to profit from their crimes.the culprit the person who has done something wrong or illegalThe culprits were never found.If I ever catch the culprit, he or she is in big trouble.The culprits were just six years old.delinquent a young person who behaves badly and is likely to commit crimes – used especially in the phrasejuvenile delinquentHe later worked with juvenile delinquents in a Florida youth services program. accomplice someone who helps a criminal to do something illegalPolice believe the murderer must have had an accomplice.different types of criminalthief someone who steals thingsCar thieves have been working in the area.The thieves stole over £5,000 worth of jewellery. robber someone who steals money or valuable things from a bank, shop etc – used especially when someone sees the person who is stealinga masked robber armed with a shotgunThey were the most successful bank robbers in US history.burglar someone who goes into people’s homes in order to stealThe burglars broke in through a window.shoplifter someone who takes things from shops without paying for themThe cameras have helped the store catch several shoplifters.pickpocket someone who steals things from people’s pockets, especially in a crowdA sign warned that pickpockets were active in the station.conman/fraudster someone who deceives people in order to get money or thingsConmen tricked the woman into giving them her savings, as an ‘investment’.forger someone who illegally copies official documents, money, artworks etca forger who fooled museum curatorscounterfeiter someone who illegally copies money, official documents, or goodsCounterfeiters in Colombia are printing almost perfect dollar bills.pirate someone who illegally copies and sells another person’s workDVD piratesmugger someone who attacks and robs people in public placesMuggers took his money and mobile phone.murderer someone who deliberately kills someone elseHis murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment. the murderer of civil rights activist Medgar Evers He is a mass murderer (=someone who kills a large number of people).serial killer someone who kills several people, one after the other over a period of time, in a similar wayShipman was a trusted family doctor who became Britain's worst serial killer. rapist someone who forces someone else to have sexSome rapists drug their victims so that they become unconscious.sex offender someone who is guilty of a crime related to sexToo many sex offenders are released from prison early.vandal someone who deliberately damages public propertyVandals broke most of the school’s windows.arsonist someone who deliberately sets fire to a buildingThe warehouse fire may have been the work of an arsonist.
Examples from the Corpus
criminal• They liked him when he was disgusting and filthy and a criminal, and he acted it up.• He had never been inside a police station, had never met a private detective, had never spoken to a criminal.• Sending children to adultprisons just means they learn to be 'better' criminals from the adult inmates.• The British government maintains that Donavan is a commoncriminal who should be brought to justice.• Grimes is considered to be one of the most dangerouscriminals in the US.• Besides, a successfulprofessionalcriminal with a Legal Aid lawyer is like a billionairecollecting Social Security.• It is alleged that criminals have targeted the smaller, idyllicislands.• Unfortunately the innocents get hurt, never the criminals behind the scenes.• If the police arm themselves, the criminals will stay a step ahead by obtaining bigger and better weapons.convicted criminal• It must never be thought that a convicted criminal can buy his way out of imprisonment.• In some cases homes were being run by convicted criminals.• Fred Goldman has become public affairsdirector for a Washington-based organization called Safe Streets, which seekstougherpunishment for convicted criminals.• The Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that convicted criminals can avoid making restitution by declaringbankruptcy.• Florida paroles first-time convicted criminals into the care of the Salvation Army-25,000 of them at any one time.• The background of long-firm fraudsters is far more varied than is found with convicted criminals as a whole.From King Business Dictionarycriminalcrim‧i‧nal1 /ˈkrɪmɪnəl/ adjective [only before a noun]1not allowed by law and able to be punished by lawThe investigation uncovered serious criminal activity.allegations of possible criminal conduct involving company directors2dealing with legal cases that involve crimeforensic tests involved in criminal and civil court casesa criminal lawyercriminalcriminal2 noun [countable]someone who is involved in illegal activity or has been found guilty of a crimeOrigincriminal1(1400-1500)Frenchcriminel, from Late Latincriminalis, from Latincrimen; → CRIME