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[kuhl-puh; Latin koo l-pah] /ˈkʌl pə; Latin ˈkʊl pɑ/
noun, plural culpae
[kuhl-pee; Latin koo l-pahy] /ˈkʌl pi; Latin ˈkʊl paɪ/ (Show IPA)
Roman and Civil Law. negligence; neglect (distinguished from dolus):
One is not always liable before law for culpa resulting in damages.
guilt; sin.
Origin of culpa
1250-1300; Old English < Latin: fault, liability, blame

mea culpa

[mey-uh kuhl-puh, mee-uh; Latin me-ah koo l-pah] /ˈmeɪ ə ˈkʌl pə, ˈmi ə; Latin ˈmɛ ɑ ˈkʊl pɑ/
my fault! (used as an acknowledgment of one's responsibility).
noun, plural mea culpas.
an acknowledgment of one's responsibility for a fault or error.
< Latin: through my fault Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for culpa


noun (pl) -pae (-piː)
(civil law) an act of neglect
a fault; sin; guilt
Word Origin
Latin: fault

mea culpa

/ˈmeɪɑː ˈkʊlpɑː/
an acknowledgment of guilt
Word Origin
literally: my fault
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for culpa

mea culpa

Latin, literally "I am to blame," a phrase from the prayer of confession in the Latin liturgy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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culpa in Culture
mea culpa [(may-uh kul-puh, kool-puh)]

An expresssion from Catholic ritual that assigns blame to oneself: “I gave you the wrong directions to my house — mea culpa.” From Latin, meaning “my fault” or “my blame.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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