cul·​pa·​ble | \ ˈkəl-pə-bəl How to pronounce culpable (audio) \

Definition of culpable

1 : meriting condemnation or blame especially as wrong or harmful culpable negligence The defendant is culpable for her actions.
2 archaic : guilty, criminal

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Other Words from culpable

culpableness \ ˈkəl-​pə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce culpableness (audio) \ noun
culpably \ ˈkəl-​pə-​blē How to pronounce culpably (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for culpable

blameworthy, blamable, guilty, culpable mean deserving reproach or punishment. blameworthy and blamable apply to any degree of reprehensibility. conduct adjudged blameworthy an accident for which no one is blamable guilty implies responsibility for or consciousness of crime, sin, or, at the least, grave error or misdoing. guilty of a breach of etiquette culpable is weaker than guilty and is likely to connote malfeasance or errors of ignorance, omission, or negligence. culpable neglect

Examples of culpable in a Sentence

They held her culpable for the accident. He's more culpable than the others because he's old enough to know better.

Recent Examples on the Web

Peterson was charged with 11 criminal counts, including child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. Gray Rohrer,, "Scott Israel’s lawyers seek Scot Peterson files to help make case against suspension," 10 June 2019 Draymond Green struggled to contain Siakam in the first half of Game 1, yet the former Defensive Player of the Year is only partly culpable for Golden State’s slow start. Michael Shapiro,, "How DeMarcus Cousins Helped Flip the NBA Finals," 5 June 2019 The seven people who helped Chau reach the island have been arrested and charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and with violating rules protecting aboriginal tribes. Kai Schultz, The Seattle Times, "Washington state man is killed by bow and arrow on remote island in India," 21 Nov. 2018 Justice Department officials have tried to combat this by issuing guidance and directing prosecutors to target culpable individuals in corporate crime cases, but the charges typically stick to low- and mid-level employees. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "Cognizant Case Shows How Firms Can Avoid Charges Even Amid Alleged Wrongdoing," 20 Feb. 2019 The framing of Jean as somehow culpable for his own death is not limited to the arrest affidavit. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "The Botham Jean shooting exposes a major problem with discussions of police and black victims," 18 Sep. 2018 And the Spurs talisman soon completed his hat-trick, tapping in from close range with Boruc again culpable., "Bournemouth vs Tottenham Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More," 10 Mar. 2018 Judges disagreed with the defense’s argument that Mr. Schellenberg wasn’t culpable if someone else placed the calls on his phone, siding with prosecutors who argued that circumstantial evidence showed Mr. Schellenberg was involved. Paul Vieira, WSJ, "Chinese Court Sentences Canadian National to Death for Drug Crimes in Retrial," 14 Jan. 2019 In past cases focusing on unfair pay for the cheerleaders, the league successfully asserted that cheerleaders were employees of the team rather than the league, so the N.F.L. was not culpable. Ken Belson, New York Times, "How an Instagram Post Led to an N.F.L. Cheerleader’s Discrimination Case," 25 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'culpable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of culpable

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for culpable

Middle English coupable, from Anglo-French cupable, culpable, from Latin culpabilis, from culpare to blame, from culpa guilt

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Statistics for culpable

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for culpable

The first known use of culpable was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for culpable



English Language Learners Definition of culpable

formal : deserving blame : guilty of doing something wrong


cul·​pa·​ble | \ ˈkəl-pə-bəl How to pronounce culpable (audio) \

Legal Definition of culpable

: deserving condemnation or blame as wrong or harmful

Other Words from culpable

culpability \ ˌkəl-​pə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce culpability (audio) \ noun
culpableness noun
culpably adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on culpable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for culpable

Spanish Central: Translation of culpable

Nglish: Translation of culpable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of culpable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on culpable

What made you want to look up culpable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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