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1 : a formal charge of wrongdoing, delinquency, or fault [the accused shall enjoy the right…to be informed of the nature and cause of the "U.S. Constitution amend. VI"] compare allegation, indictment, information
2 : the offense or fault of which one is accused [the was murder]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.