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
Only the culprits and a chair who was buddies gave statements.
But she speculates that fine particles spewed from car exhaust pipes are likely
Of course, those are the same culprits contributing the bulk of greenhouse gas
At one point, police decided to do the expected: arrest the culprits.
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