From Anglo-Norman cul. prit, contraction of culpable: prest (d'averrer nostre bille) 'guilty: ready (to prove our case)', words used by prosecutor in opening a trial, mistaken in English for an address to the defendant. See culpable.
culprit (plural culprits)
- The person or thing at fault for a problem or crime.
- I have tightened the loose bolt that was the culprit; it should work now.
- 2012 June 9, Owen Phillips, “Euro 2012: Netherlands 0-1 Denmark”, in BBC Sport:
- But the Dutch dominated only to waste numerous efforts, with Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie the main culprits.
- (Britain, law) A prisoner accused but not yet tried.
- See also Thesaurus:criminal