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culprit

[kuhl-prit] /ˈkʌl prɪt/
noun
1.
a person or other agent guilty of or responsible for an offense or fault.
2.
a person arraigned for an offense.
Origin of culprit
1670-1680
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
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for culprit

culprit

/ˈkʌlprɪt/
noun
1.
(law) a person awaiting trial, esp one who has pleaded not guilty
2.
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
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Word Origin and History for culprit
n.

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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