Simple Definition of mea culpa
: a statement in which you say that something is your fault
Full Definition of mea culpa
: a formal acknowledgment of personal fault or error
Examples of mea culpa in a sentence
The mayor's public mea culpa didn't satisfy his critics.
Did You Know?
Mea culpa, which means "through my fault" in Latin, comes from a prayer of confession in the Catholic Church. Said by itself, it's an exclamation of apology or remorse that is used to mean "It was my fault" or "I apologize." Mea culpa is also a noun, however. A newspaper might issue a mea culpa for printing inaccurate information, or a politician might give a speech making mea culpas for past wrongdoings. Mea culpa is one of many English terms that derive from the Latin culpa, meaning "guilt." Some other examples are culpable ("meriting condemnation or blame especially as wrong or harmful") and culprit ("one guilty of a crime or a fault").
Origin of mea culpa
Latin, through my fault
First Known Use: 1602
Learn More about mea culpa
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up mea culpa? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).