mea culpa

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noun mea cul·pa \ˌmā-ə-ˈku̇l-pə, ˌmā-ä-, -ˈku̇l-(ˌ)pä\

Definition of mea culpa

  1. :  a formal acknowledgment of personal fault or error The mayor's public mea culpa didn't satisfy his critics.

mea culpa was our Word of the Day on 12/28/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of mea culpa in a sentence

  1. 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 and Etymology of mea culpa

Latin, through my fault


First Known Use: 1602


MEA CULPA Defined for English Language Learners

mea culpa

play
noun mea cul·pa \ˌmā-ə-ˈku̇l-pə, ˌmā-ä-, -ˈku̇l-(ˌ)pä\

Definition of mea culpa for English Language Learners

  • : a statement in which you say that something is your fault


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