a person who perpetrates, or commits, an illegal, criminal, or evil act: The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be found and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Unabridged


verb (used with object), perpetrated, perpetrating.
to commit: to perpetrate a crime.
to present, execute, or do in a poor or tasteless manner: Who perpetrated this so-called comedy?

1540–50; < Latin perpetrātus (past participle of perpetrāre to carry out, execute, perform), equivalent to per- per- + -petr- (combining form of patrāre to father, bring about; see pater) + -ā- theme vowel + -tus past participle suffix; see -ate1

perpetrable [pur-pi-truh-buhl] , adjective
perpetration, noun
perpetrator, noun
nonperpetration, noun
unperpetrated, adjective

perpetrate, perpetuate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
perpetrate (ˈpɜːpɪˌtreɪt)
(tr) to perform or be responsible for (a deception, crime, etc)
[C16: from Latin perpetrāre, from per- (thoroughly) + patrāre to perform, perhaps from pater father, leader in the performance of sacred rites]
usage  Perpetrate and perpetuate are sometimes confused: he must answer for the crimes he has perpetrated (not perpetuated); the book helped to perpetuate (not perpetrate) some of the myths surrounding his early life

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., from L. perpetratus, pp. of perpetrare "to perform, to accomplish," from per- "completely" + patrare "carry out," originally "bring into existence," from pater "father" (see father). Neither good nor bad in Latin, first used in English in statutes, hence its sense
of "to perform criminally."

1560s, from L.L. perpetrator, agent noun of perpetrare (see perpetrate). Police slang shortening perp (e.g. perp walk) is Amer.Eng., by 1940s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
If the perpetrators are found, they could be prosecuted under the state's
  animal-cruelty laws.
It is entirely possible that he is being set up to be a scapegoat, while the
  perpetrators walk away.
Now scientists have used forensic techniques to clear local geese-the
  perpetrators were out-of-towners.
So far you've cited situations where the perpetrators were caught.
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