mea culpa

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

Definition of mea culpa 

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

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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").

Examples of mea culpa in a Sentence

The mayor's public mea culpa didn't satisfy his critics.

Recent Examples on the Web

A few hours later, Legend posted a tribute—and a tongue-in-cheek mea culpa—too. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Chrissy Teigen and John Legend Celebrate Their Anniversary With Sweet (and Sarcastic) Instagram Posts," 14 Sep. 2018 Zuckerberg isn't the only company executive issuing a mea culpa. USA TODAY, "Austin serial bomber saga comes to an explosive end," 21 Mar. 2018 The ubiquity of Fox News in Facebook’s new live stream schedule could be seen as a mea culpa of sorts — or an attempt to address the allegations of bias against conservatives. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Facebook’s first wave of ‘trustworthy’ news shows sure includes a lot of Fox News," 11 July 2018 On Sunday, Ferdinand tweeted his own mea culpa for past failures, while also highlighting Southgate’s unique contribution. Danica Kirka, The Seattle Times, "Coach of England wins the nation’s heart by being a nice guy," 10 July 2018 Released just a few weeks later, Ant-Man and the Wasp practically feels like a mea culpa, or at least the opportunity to take a breath. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ant-Man and The Wasp': What the Critics Are Saying," 27 June 2018 To punctuate the mea culpa, AT&T parted ways with Bob Quinn, its chief lobbyist. Scott Moritz,, "AT&T's M&A Fumble Still Leaves CEO With More Wins Than Losses," 12 May 2018 Consider this a mea culpa inspired by our recent NBA A to Z podcast visit with the Portland Trail Blazers' C.J. McCollum, a journalism graduate from Lehigh University who advocated for more accountability in the sports media profession. Sam Amick, USA TODAY, "Why I bet against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 7," 29 Apr. 2018 The general counsel resigned, Jimenez gave selected interviews to the media to issue a mea culpa, and Narasimhan wrote to employees and spoke with investors about restoring confidence in the company. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Swiss attorney general will not pursue bribery charges against Novartis for payments to Trump lawyer," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mea culpa.' 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 mea culpa

1602, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mea culpa

Latin, through my fault

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Statistics for mea culpa

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for mea culpa

The first known use of mea culpa was in 1602

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More Definitions for mea culpa

mea culpa


English Language Learners Definition of mea culpa

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

More from Merriam-Webster on mea culpa

Nglish: Translation of mea culpa for Spanish Speakers

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a private place of worship

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