mea culpa

mea cul·​pa | \ ˌmā-ə-ˈku̇l-pə How to pronounce mea culpa (audio) , 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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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"), culprit ("one guilty of a crime or a fault"), and exculpate ("to clear from alleged fault or guilt").

Examples of mea culpa in a Sentence

The mayor's public mea culpa didn't satisfy his critics.
Recent Examples on the Web The first episode ended with Julie heading into Melissa's room to offer a long-overdue mea culpa. Kristen Baldwin,, 26 Apr. 2022 One challenge went unmentioned in Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ’ Tuesday mea culpa but was broached a few weeks earlier by Disney’s outgoing chairman. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, 22 Apr. 2022 Rogan offered a slippery apology, but then footage of the podcast host using the n-word began to circulate, leading to a second, less-convincing mea culpa. Washington Post, 9 Feb. 2022 Sequoia India posted an unusual mea culpa on its website on Sunday, following troubles at several of its startups including Zilingo. Faris Mokhtar, Fortune, 19 Apr. 2022 Sam Elliott issued a very public mea culpa for his controversial remarks about Jane Campion's western film The Power of the Dog. Jessica Wang,, 10 Apr. 2022 Smith then delivered his mea culpa, though without mentioning Rock. Anna Chan, Billboard, 27 Mar. 2022 Later, Hoffman issued a mea culpa of sorts on Instagram. Adam Schupak, The Arizona Republic, 13 Feb. 2022 On Monday, Smith added a mea culpa specifically addressed to Rock in his statement. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 28 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of mea culpa was in 1602

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mea culpa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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