[ uh-kyoo-zuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ]
/ əˈkyu zəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i /
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containing an accusation; accusing: an accusatory look.
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Also accusative.

Origin of accusatory

1595–1605; <Latin accūsātōrius, equivalent to accūsā(re) to accuse + -tōrius-tory1


self-ac·cu·sa·to·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does accusatory mean?

Accusatory is used to describe things that contain or suggest an accusation—a claim that someone is guilty of a crime or offense.

An accusatory statement is usually one that directly claims that someone did something wrong. When someone says something in an accusatory tone, it suggests that they are accusing someone of something—even if the statement doesn’t contain a direct accusation.

The similar word accusatorial can be used interchangeably to mean implying blame, but it’s more commonly applied to people to imply they are making an accusation, as in I don’t mean to be accusatorial—I was just making an observation. 

Example: Every one of your comments has been accusatory—how am I not supposed to think you’re blaming me?

Where does accusatory come from?

The first records of the word accusatory in English come from the 1500s. Its base word, accuse, ultimately derives from the Latin accūsāre, meaning “to call to account,” from causa, “lawsuit.”

When you make an accusation, you specifically say that someone did something wrong. An accusatory statement contains an accusation or it implies blame for something. The word accusation is often used in a legal context, and the word accusatory can be used in this way or in everyday conversation. A person might even be accused of (or criticized for) saying accusatory things, such as when they don’t have anything to back up their accusation.

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What are some other forms related to accusatory?

  • self-accusatory (adjective)
  • accuse (verb)

What are some synonyms for accusatory?

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

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

How is accusatory used in real life?

Accusatory is usually used to describe the things people say and the way they say them—as opposed to the people themselves.



Try using accusatory!

Is accusatory used correctly in the following sentence?

I know you’re not blaming her, but your tone does sound accusatory.

How to use accusatory in a sentence