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criminal - definition and synonyms


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adjective criminal pronunciation in American English /ˈkrɪmɪn(ə)l/
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  1. 1
    [usually before noun] relating to illegal acts
    The book examines the causes of criminal behavior.
    a criminal offense/act: It is a criminal offense to threaten someone with violence.
    1. a.
      [only before noun] relating to parts of the legal system that deal with crime
      Police are conducting a criminal investigation into his business affairs.
      the criminal justice system
      criminal charges (=official statements saying that someone is accused of committing a crime): You could face criminal charges.
      criminal proceedings (=the process of examining a crime in a court of law): There is not enough evidence to start criminal proceedings against him.
    2. b.
      [only before noun] used about people who often commit crimes
      the criminal element in society
  2. 2
    bad, wrong, or unfair in a way that makes you angry
    It’s criminal the way they treat their animals.
    That’s a criminal waste of resources.
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