Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to guilty: not guilty
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
| Maxine Shaw, 45 and of Colshaw Road, Wythenshawe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B (amphetamine) and possession with intent to supply Class B (ketamine).
Malcolm Gee, 66, of Grenville Terrace in Ashton-Under-Lyne pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce Class B (amphetamine); production of Class B (cannabis); possession of Class A (cocaine); possession of criminal property - cash and possession of Class B (cannabis) and was jailed for six years and nine months.
12/05: Cody Riley, 26, of Muddy, pleaded guilty to battery, a Class A misdemeanor on Feb.
[begin strikethrough]If you return a verdict of guilty to the charge of First Degree Murder, it is not necessary that all of you agree the State proved First Degree Premeditated Murder and it is not necessary that all of you agree the State proved First Degree Felony Murder.
Terry Lough, 31, of Queen Alexander Road West, North Shields, pleaded guilty to failing to stop and failing to report an accident at Chirton Main Service Station on March 9.
Gavin Deluen, 23, of Cullercoats, North Tyneside, has been jailed for 10 years after pleading guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent.
1, was found guilty of a lesser charge, assault, and sentenced to two years in jail with one year to serve.
Louis Patrick Gormley, 19, of Grindle Road, Stoke, pleaded guilty to being in possession of a Class A drug.
In relation to seven of the counts, the man pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting the girl, then aged 15, at the school between September and October 2009.
Fran Ferris April 2007 Warned off five years (to run concurrent with February 2007 punishment) - guilty of stopping horses and passing information for reward
Attorney Bud Cummins of Little Rock said seven defendants, in addition to Miller and the corporation, had entered guilty pleas in connection with business activities at Freedom Financial before it was raided by FBI agents in March 2002.
If I feel guilty that I have not managed to become the ideal person I occasionally want to be or that I imagine others want me to be, then it is guilt that has no divine reference point.
Morgenthau announced that six people and one corporation have pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and related crimes in the theft of millions of dollars from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Indeed, the 1996 law that the Lackawanna Six pied guilty to has already been ruled unconstitutional in a California federal court and will likely be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S.
Guilty Creatures, a study of the English Renaissance "killing poem," explores the author's creative and ethical responsibility for his creation.