[ kuhl-puh-buhl ]
/ ˈkʌl pə bəl /
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See synonyms for: culpable / culpability / culpableness on Thesaurus.com

deserving blame or censure; blameworthy.
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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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does culpable mean?

Culpable means deserving blame for a crime or wrongdoing.

When someone is described as culpable for something, it means it’s their fault or that they are guilty of it.

Culpable is typically used in serious legal contexts involving crimes.

The noun culpability refers to the guilt or blame that is deserved for some crime or wrongdoing.

Example: The CEO should be held criminally culpable for the negligence that resulted in the deaths of several employees.

Where does culpable come from?

The first records of the word culpable come from around 1300. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb culpāre, meaning “to hold liable,” from the Latin culpa, meaning “blame.” Culpa also appears in the Latin phrase mea culpa, meaning “my fault.”

You’re culpable if you’re responsible for something going wrong. Even if you weren’t the one who directly caused harm, you could still be considered legally culpable if you had some role in it. For example, if it was your responsibility to ensure the safety of others by inspecting equipment and you neglected to do so, you could be held culpable if people were hurt as a result of your negligence.

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What are some other forms related to culpable?

  • culpably (adverb)
  • culpability (noun)
  • culpableness (noun)
  • nonculpable (adjective)

What are some synonyms for culpable?

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

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

How is culpable used in real life?

Culpable is usually used in a very serious way. It’s especially used in a legal context.



Try using culpable!

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

A. illegal
B. responsible
C. liable
D. blameworthy

How to use culpable in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for culpable

/ (ˈkʌlpəbəl) /

deserving censure; blameworthy

Derived forms of culpable

culpability 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