9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuhl-prit] /ˈkʌl prɪt/
a person or other agent guilty of or responsible for an offense or fault.
a person arraigned for an offense.
Origin of culprit
1670-80; traditionally explained as cul (representing Latin culpābilis guilty) + prit (representing Anglo-French prest ready), marking the prosecution as ready to prove the defendant's guilt. See culpable, presto Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for culprit
  • He was still holding her wrist tightly, as if he were compelling a culprit from the scene of action.
  • We got much of those same spring rains claimed to be the culprit for the lack of acorns this year.
  • It is the normal by-product of human respiration and the burning of fossil fuels-probably the main culprit in global warming.
  • So far, the cause of the explosion is unknown, as is the culprit.
  • The biggest culprit is the disappearance of well-paying manufacturing jobs.
  • The culprit is the lawmakers' shrewd manipulation of the budget process.
  • Moreover, as commentators in the press pointed out, the culprit was a graduate of a trade school rather than of a grande école.
  • With the immediate diagnosis of the culprit germs, doctors won't have to wait for the results of laboratory cultures.
  • While scientists don't know exactly why so many embryos fail, genetic abnormalities are likely a major culprit.
  • The obvious culprit is the general-purpose smartphone.
British Dictionary definitions for culprit


(law) a person awaiting trial, esp one who has pleaded not guilty
the person responsible for a particular offence, misdeed, etc
Word Origin
C17: from Anglo-French cul-, short for culpable guilty + prit ready, indicating that the prosecution was ready to prove the guilt of the one charged
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for culprit

1670s, from Anglo-French cul prit, contraction of Culpable: prest (d'averrer nostre bille) "guilty, ready (to prove our case)," words used by prosecutor in opening a trial. It seems the abbreviation cul. prit was mistaken in English for an address to the defendant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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