a person or other agent guilty of or responsible for an offense or fault.
a person arraigned for an offense.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
culprit (ˈkʌlprɪt)
1.  law a person awaiting trial, esp one who has pleaded not guilty
2.  the person responsible for a particular offence, misdeed, etc
[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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1678, from Anglo-Fr. 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 Eng. for an address to the defendant.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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