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Origin of culpable

1275–1325; Middle English < Latin culpābilis, equivalent to culpā(re) to hold liable (derivative of culpa blame) + -bilis -ble; replacing Middle English coupable < Middle French < Latin as above
Related formscul·pa·bil·i·ty, cul·pa·ble·ness, nouncul·pa·bly, adverbnon·cul·pa·ble, adjectivenon·cul·pa·ble·ness, nounnon·cul·pa·bly, adverbun·cul·pa·ble, adjective

Synonyms for culpable

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for culpable


  1. deserving censure; blameworthy
Derived Formsculpability or culpableness, nounculpably, adverb

Word Origin for culpable

C14: from Old French coupable, from Latin culpābilis, from culpāre to blame, from culpa 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

Word Origin and History for culpable

late 13c., coupable, from Old French coupable (12c., Modern French coupable), from Latin culpabilis "worthy of blame," from culpare "to blame," from culpa "crime, fault, blame, guilt, error." English (and for a time French) restored the first Latin -l- in later Middle Ages.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper