1 /'krIminFl/ adjective
1 related to or connected with crime: criminal behaviour | The boy had shown criminal tendencies since early adolescence. | a criminal offence (=a crime that can be punished by law) | criminal element (=people within a particular group who are known to be involved in crime): Ray got mixed up with the local criminal element. | criminal negligence (=the illegal act of not doing something you should do, with the result that someone is hurt) | criminal damage (=the illegal act of damaging someone else's property)
2 (no comparative) related to the part of the legal system that is concerned with crime: criminal court | criminal case | criminal attorney | criminal charges (=official statements saying that someone has done something illegal): Wharton faces criminal charges and will be tried in May.
-compare civil (3)
3 wrong, dishonest, and unacceptable: There was a criminal lack of foresight in the planning of this venture.
- criminally adverb 2 noun (C) someone who is involved in illegal activities or has been proved guilty of a crime: The man is a criminal. How could the people elect him to office? | hardened criminal (=someone who has been involved in crime for a long time): Teenagers should not be sent to prison with hardened criminals.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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