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guilt-tripped; guilt-tripping; guilt-trips

transitive verb

: to cause feelings of guilt in (someone) : to try to manipulate the behavior of (someone) by causing feelings of guilt : guilt
How often have we been guilt-tripped into giving people generic birthday greetings on their walls even if they are just casual acquaintances?Michael Grothaus
guilt-tripping noun
Americans may be susceptible to moral and religious guilt-tripping, but they don't want a theocracy. Ellen Willis

guilt trip

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plural guilt trips
: an instance of feeling guilty : a feeling of guilt or blame caused especially by another person's comment or accusation
give someone a guilt trip [=make someone feel guilty]
"You haven't talked to her in weeks, Mona." "Thanks for the guilt trip."Armistead Maupin
"My waiter asked 'Now, do we want straws OR do we want to save the turtles?' and honestly we all deserve that environmental guilt trip"…Rebekah White
I cheated in school—and I cheated myself … I knew it was wrong. I was already on a serious guilt trip.Art Schlichter et al.

Examples of guilt-trip in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
That’s crystal clear to me, at least: Both sides not only committed violent atrocities but also guilt-tripped the world. Amir Sommer, Twin Cities, 11 Jan. 2024 Related Articles That’s crystal clear to me, at least: Both sides not only committed violent atrocities but also guilt-tripped the world. Amir Sommer, The Mercury News, 11 Jan. 2024 Reflecting on his experience in a college term paper, Westerveld pointed out the hypocrisy of guilt-tripping guests about towels while the hotel was hastily building more bungalows. TIME, 13 Oct. 2023 Doing favors for others probably won't successfully guilt-trip them into seeing things your way! Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 21 Aug. 2023 Paul says Stella’s strategy of offering people better, ethical alternatives—rather than guilt-tripping them—was inspired by her mother, who launched a successful vegetarian-food business. Time, 9 Aug. 2023 Advertisement Not to criticize or guilt-trip your choices in the moment, just to state a fact, to clear the path to acceptance of imperfect options. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 6 June 2023 D’Elia also was guilt-tripping her, Wollfe claims, being less focused on denying the allegations and more so complaining that he was being abandoned by his friends and peers. Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone, 16 May 2023 Loretta is condemned and guilt-tripped by her sister-in-law (Therese Plaehn) for being a working mother. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Mar. 2023
Undergoing a guilt trip could suck the joy out of your efforts., Baltimore Sun, 13 Feb. 2024 And please spare me your class-warfare guilt trips. David Harsanyi, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 But there’s no need for the guilt trip, says Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer. Steve Mollman, Fortune, 6 July 2023 Sebastian is reluctant to leave his father alone for the holiday, especially since Salvo spares no opportunity to guilt trip him about it. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 May 2023 At the center of this storm of terrors is a phone call from Mom, issuing expert long-distance guilt trips in the offscreen voice of Broadway veteran Patti LuPone. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 20 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'guilt-trip.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1974, in the meaning defined above


1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of guilt-trip was in 1970

Dictionary Entries Near guilt-trip



guilt trip

Cite this Entry

“Guilt-trip.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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