Word of the Day : December 28, 2013

mea culpa

noun may-uh-KOOL-puh


: a formal acknowledgment of personal fault or error

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").


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

"Here's my mea culpa: I admit I'm carrying around 20 pounds I could do without and also don't exercise enough." - From an article by Eli Amdur in the Patriot News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), November 10, 2013

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "mea culpa" begins with "i" and is a synonym of "incriminate"? The answer is …


play time wotd mea culpa 01 14 2019

'Mea culpa' — Video Word of the Day 1/14/2019

noun - a formal acknowledgment of personal fault


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