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a guilty conscience needs no accuser

proverb A feeling of guilt and remorse can be so strong that it will prompt an offender to confess, even if no one is requiring them to do so. Gary felt so guilty after taking the money out of Bill's wallet that he confessed and returned it a day later. A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
See also: conscience, guilty, needs, no

feel guilty

To feel ashamed and remorseful about something. Thanks for being so nice about everything, but I still feel guilty about interrupting your date. I know Jen pretty well, and I think she feels guilty about upsetting you.
See also: feel, guilty

find (one) guilty

To determine and declare in court that one is guilty of a crime. How serious do you think the prison sentence will be if the jury finds him guilty?
See also: find, guilty

find (one) not guilty

To determine and declare in court that one is innocent of a crime. I don't know how the jury found him not guilty, considering all the evidence against him.
See also: find, guilty, not

guilty pleasure

Something that one enjoys or finds pleasurable but knows or feels to be bad, inferior, aberrant, or lowbrow, especially as might be perceived or judged by other people. I know these gossip magazines are trashy, but reading them on my commute home is my guilty pleasure!
See also: guilty, pleasure

plead guilty (to something)

To formally admit and declare that one is guilty (of some crime or accusation). The defendant avoided a possible death sentence by pleading guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter. My client pleads guilty, your honor.
See also: guilty, plead

plead not guilty (to something)

To formally deny that one is guilty (of some crime or accusation). The defendant pleaded not guilty, and he will go to trial where he will face the possibility of life in prison, or even death. My client pleads not guilty, your honor.
See also: guilty, not, plead
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

feel guilty (about something)

to feel that one is to blame for something; to feel intense regret for something that one has done. I feel guilty for forgetting about your birthday. You shouldn't feel guilty about the accident. It's not your fault.
See also: feel, guilty

find someone guilty

 and find someone innocent; find someone not guilty
to decide guilt or innocence and deliver a verdict in a court of law. The judge found the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury found the defendant innocent.
See also: find, guilty

A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

Prov. If you have done something wrong and feel guilty about it, you will be uncomfortable and want to confess even if no one accuses you of wrongdoing. Even though no one noticed him eating most of the cookies, Peter felt so bad about it that he told us what he had done. A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
See also: conscience, guilty, needs, no

plead guilty to something

to state that one is guilty of a crime before a court of law. Gerald refused to plead guilty to the crime and had to stand trial. Max pleaded guilty to the charge and then fled town.
See also: guilty, plead, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The relationship between parental psychological control and the level of stressors of the sportsmen can be explained as the parental guiltiness and the level of stress perceived by the sportsmen as the love has escalated.
(22) My point is only to indicate that guiltiness will be a poor basis for providing a bright line between those who are subject to attack and those who are immune from attack.
The difference between cause and effect is telling for Desdemona in Othello: "Why I should fear I know not,/ Since guiltiness I know not, but yet I feel I fear" (5.2.40-41).
It is this central position of murder that helps to account for worrying guiltiness that sticks to The Prince despite many years of efforts to soften the book's message.
How do you handle the past and that guiltiness, preaching to everyone else but still remembering what you've done?
Ujejski alone, rector of the Jagellonian University, perceived that any guiltiness in Conrad was not from having quit Poland, (9) but for having quit the sea for which he had quit Poland.
Robinson admonished his clients to be patient while waiting for volume three, sermons on unregenerate man's guiltiness before God and his restoration by grace.
necessary to reach an honest verdict."(26) The prosecution's obligation in criminal cases transcends a syllogistic presentation to encompass the telling of "a story of guiltiness."(27)
There will be a time of utter blackness, electronic guiltiness invented by those who now rue you, there will be a time of unbelievable bloodshed, heads rolling down factory gutters.
Yet, while semes of guiltiness do resurface from time to time, as in his quotation of Luke 6:46 (Le quatuor, 123) and his recollection of the Catholic formula for confession (Pacifica, 175), his poetic project is clearly centered on the exploration of the possibilities of a freedom that might liberate the senses from guilt and thus conjugate the sensual and the spiritual.
But the irony of the final phrase (can mere external resemblance replicate truth?) suggests that the duke's impersonation will enable him to mask political objectives through an appropriation of the signs of religious authority.(31) The power inherent in the successful imposition of this kind of fraud (what Angelo's lines on the "devil's crest" mark as a kind of public inscription [2.4.16-17]), is confirmed in the play's final scene, where the amazed Angelo submits to the duke's judgment as a manifestation of some inscrutable divine knowledge: "O my dread lord, / I should be guiltier than my guiltiness, / To think I can be undiscernible, / When I perceive your Grace, like pow'r divine, / Hath look'd upon my passes" (5.1.366-70).
Where I come from you do not need to call the whole family to testify to a kid's guiltiness when you suspect the kid of stealing groundnuts.
Stressing Riley's impotence and resignation before racial injustice, the movie once again stages the guiltiness of white masculinity only to reassert its superiority: it is in pointed contrast to both Riley and Phan that De Palma's Eriksson courageously pursues his court-martial, showing that he, if not they, has the balls to "buck the system." Thus, the white hero simultaneously redeems himself as a champion of the oppressed and reoppresses them by proving that he alone can speak on their behalf.
The iambic pentameter, a rhythm natural to English speech, has the effect of making more memorable lines such as Flavius' comment about the commoners ("They vanish tongue-tied in their guiltiness") or Brutus' observation, "Men at some time are masters of their fates." As in most of the tragedies, Shakespeare here follows a five-part dramatic structure, consisting of the exposition (to act 1, scene 2), complication 1.2 to 2.4), climax (3.1), consequence (3.1-5.2), and denouement (5.3-5.5).
Nevertheless the assertiveness can be described such that the individual can express the positive and negative feeling, idea and desires and other's rights without ignoring and about this matter without hearing anxiety and guiltiness [5].