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accuse

[ uh-kyooz ]
/ əˈkyuz /
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See synonyms for: accuse / accused / accusing / accusable on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), ac·cused, ac·cus·ing.

to charge with the fault, offense, or crime (usually followed by of): He accused him of murder.
to find fault with; blame.

verb (used without object), ac·cused, ac·cus·ing.

to make an accusation.

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Origin of accuse

1250–1300; Middle English ac(c)usen<Old French acuser<Latin accūsāre to call to account (ac-ac- + -cūs-, combining form of caus-;see cause)
accuse , allege, charge
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does accuse mean?

To accuse someone means to say that they are guilty of a crime or offense.

This can happen in everyday situations, such as children accusing each other of not sharing. But accuse is also used in a legal context in the sense of accusing a person of a crime, especially in an official way.

Accuse is often followed by the person being accused, the word of, and the specific wrongdoing, as in The teacher accused Ted of cheating. 

It’s also commonly used in a passive way, as in Ted was accused of cheating. 

When you accuse someone of something, you’re making an accusation. A person 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 accuse them of something that serious, you better have some evidence to back it up.

Where does accuse come from?

The first records of the word accuse come from the second half of the 1200s. 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.

Accusing someone of 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 (to falsely accuse someone is to lie and claim they did something when you know they didn’t). 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 accuse typically implies that the accuser has firsthand knowledge or evidence of the crime that they claim was committed.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to accuse?

What are some synonyms for accuse?

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

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

How is accuse used in real life?

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

 

 

Try using accuse!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of accuse?

A. charge
B. indict
C. acquit
D. incriminate

British Dictionary definitions for accuse

accuse
/ (əˈkjuːz) /

verb

to charge (a person or persons) with some fault, offence, crime, etc; impute guilt or blame
accuser, nounaccusing, adjectiveaccusingly, adverb
C13: via Old French from Latin accūsāre to call to account, from ad- to + causa lawsuit
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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