[ ak-yoo-zey-shuhn ]
/ ˌæk yʊˈzeɪ ʃən /
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See synonyms for: accusation / accusations on Thesaurus.com

a charge of wrongdoing; imputation of guilt or blame.
the specific offense charged: The accusation is murder.
the act of accusing or state of being accused.
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Origin of accusation

1350–1400; Middle English accusacion<Latin accūsātiōn- (stem of accūsātiō), equivalent to accūsāt(us), past participle of accūsāre (see accuse, -ate1) + -iōn--ion


coun·ter·ac·cu·sa·tion, nounpre·ac·cu·sa·tion, nounre·ac·cu·sa·tion, nounself-ac·cu·sa·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does accusation mean?

An accusation is a claim that someone is guilty of a crime or offense.

To make an accusation is to accuse someone. This can happen in everyday situations, such as children accusing each other of not sharing. But accusation is typically used in a legal context to refer to an official claim or charge that a crime has been committed.

A person who makes an accusation (who accuses) is called an accuser (especially when the accusation 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 accusation that serious, you’d better have some evidence to back it up.

Where does accusation come from?

The first records of the word accusation come from the second half of the 1300s. It ultimately derives from the Latin accūsāre, meaning “to call to account,” from causa, “lawsuit.”

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 accusations are more serious than others.

Making an accusation 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 accusation (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 accusation typically implies that the accuser has firsthand knowledge or evidence of the crime that they claim was committed. When people deny accusations made against them, they often call them false or baseless (meaning they’re made up).

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What are some other forms related to accusation?

  • counteraccusation (noun)
  • self-accusation (noun)
  • accuse (verb)

What are some synonyms for accusation?

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

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

How is accusation used in real life?

Accusation is used in serious and not-so-serious ways, but it always involves claiming that someone did something wrong.



Try using accusation!

Is accusation used correctly in the following sentence?

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

How to use accusation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for accusation

/ (ˌækjʊˈzeɪʃən) /

an allegation that a person is guilty of some fault, offence, or crime; imputation
a formal charge brought against a person stating the crime that he is alleged to have committed
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