[ uh-kyoo-zuhl ]
/ əˈkyu zəl /
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Origin of accusal

First recorded in 1585–95; accuse + -al2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does accusal mean?

An accusal is a claim that someone is guilty of a crime or offense. It’s a less common word for accusation.

To make an accusal is to accuse someone. This can happen in everyday situations or in the context of criminal justice to refer to an official claim or charge that a crime has been committed.

A person who makes an accusal (who accuses) is called an accuser (especially when the accusal involves a crime). The adjective accused means charged with a crime or other offense. Accused is also used as a noun to refer to a person or people who have been charged with a crime, often as the accused. 

Statements that suggest or outright say that someone did something wrong can be described as accusatory.

Example: If you’re going to make an accusal that serious, you’d better have some evidence to back it up.

Where does accusal come from?

The first records of the word accusal come from the late 1500s. Its base word, accuse, ultimately derives from the Latin accūsāre, meaning “to call to account,” from causa, “lawsuit.” (The noun recusal is formed from the verb recuse in the same way.)

You might accuse your family members of not listening to you, or accuse one of them of eating the last muffin (when you specifically said you were saving it!). But some accusals are more serious than others.

Making an accusal that someone committed a crime is a serious thing to do. Even if they are not found guilty, having been accused may permanently hurt their reputation. Still, just because someone is accused (or charged and indicted) doesn’t mean that they are automatically found guilty of the crime they are suspected of committing. In most court systems, the accusal (and the guilt of the person) needs to be proven. And, in many cases, the accused has the right to face their accuser in court. Still, the word accusal typically implies that the accuser has firsthand knowledge or evidence of the crime that they claim was committed. When people deny accusals made against them, they often call them false or baseless (meaning they’re made up).

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to accusal?

What are some synonyms for accusal?

What are some words that share a root or word element with accusal

What are some words that often get used in discussing accusal?

How is accusal used in real life?

Accusal means the same thing as accusation, but it’s much less commonly used.



Try using accusal!

Is accusal used correctly in the following sentence?

He was arrested after several people came forward to make accusals against him.

How to use accusal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for accusal

/ (əˈkjuːzəl) /

another word for accusation
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