- a person guilty of a crime or offense; offender
- Archaic a person accused of a crime, esp. by arraignment before a law court
- anything or anyone regarded as the cause of some problem, misfortune, etc.
Origin of culpritfrom Anglo-French cul. prit, contr. for phrase culpable, prit (a averer nostre bille), literally , guilty, ready (to prove our case): words used by prosecutor in opening case from culpable (see culpable) + prit, for Old French prest from Late Latin praestus, ready