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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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 Zaidi doubled down on his mea culpa later, at Kapler’s introduction. Al Saracevic,, "Giants face PR mess: If Gabe Kapler is innocent, is Farhan Zaidi guilty?," 13 Nov. 2019 Texas has never offered a mea culpa or apology either, though a Texas historical marker was finally erected. Elaine Ayala,, "‘Porvenir, Texas’ can be your Hispanic Heritage Month must-see," 26 Sep. 2019 The Pixelbook Go is nothing less than a mea culpa from Google, making good on the Pixel Slate. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Google Pixelbook Go hands-on: Come for the low price, stay for the keyboard," 16 Oct. 2019 After months of revelations that smart speakers get a very human intelligence boost from contractors who transcribe and review customer audio snippets, the mea culpas are flowing in. Wired, "Google Tightens Its Voice Assistant Rules Amid Privacy Backlash," 23 Sep. 2019 Hannah Beast was instead issuing her official mea culpa for keeping Luke Parker, season 15’s bona fide villain, around for 10 weeks of her Bachelorette season. Ariana Romero,, "Hannah Finally Gave A Full Explanation For The Luke P. Fiasco On Bachelorette “Men Tell All”," 25 July 2019 That is the mea culpa that employers voice when accused of lacking empathy for out-of-work Americans. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Selfish Actors of Illegal Immigration," 16 July 2019 At the end of April, Impossible issued a mea culpa to customers, acknowledging a shortage. CNN, "Impossible made fake meat a hot commodity. Now it could be a victim of its own success," 27 June 2019 On Friday, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention released a 52-page report about abuse in the denomination, including survivors' stories and mea culpas about mistakes church leaders have made. Daniel Burke, CNN, "Southern Baptists approve measure to remove churches over clergy abuse," 12 June 2019

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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The first known use of mea culpa was in 1602

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Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Mea culpa.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for mea culpa

mea culpa

How to pronounce mea culpa (audio)

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 period of high artistic development

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