View synonyms for mea culpa

mea culpa

[ mey-uh kuhl-puh, mee-uh; Latin me-ah kool-pah ]


  1. my fault! (used as an acknowledgment of one's responsibility).


, plural me·a cul·pas.
  1. an acknowledgment of one's responsibility for a fault or error.

mea culpa

/ ˈmeɪɑː ˈkʊlpɑː /

(no translation)

  1. an acknowledgment of guilt

mea culpa

  1. An expression from Catholic ritual that assigns blame to oneself: “I gave you the wrong directions to my house — mea culpa.” From Latin , meaning “my fault” or “my blame.”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mea culpa1

From Latin: literally “through my fault”; mea culpa def 1 was first recorded in 1200–50, and mea culpa def 2 in 1815–20; culpa ( def )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mea culpa1

literally: my fault

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Example Sentences

So he’s about to offer a rare mea culpa — and undertake an ambitious plan to remake programming at MTV and sister units, including Comedy Central, VH1 and even Paramount Plus.

How Facebook wrote its rules for TrumpZuckerberg’s testimony will not be a mea culpa.

As a lighthearted mea culpa, the introductory video for Neutron showed Beck eating his own hat.

Speaking to reporters outside his home, he offered an explanation that doubled as a mea culpa.

Jackson and the other “Countdown” hosts all gave mea culpas on the show that aired the Sunday after Limbaugh’s comments.

In Washington, where politicians have mastered the art of the mea culpa, those words would not normally warrant much attention.

Like Gates, I also lost my policy objectivity—mea culpa—but for all the right reasons, as I believed then and still do.

Now I think Obama was right to do that mea culpa bit last week.

At the end, the two embraced and Eminem flicked off the crowd, a middle-finger mea culpa.

The right thing to do would be a formal mea culpa from the author.

I know too well how little I profited by all his warnings, and I cry, Mea culpa.

For this, I can only beat my breast violently and mutter mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

If he had been differently brought up, he might have beaten his breast and cried, "Mea culpa!"

He closeth his eyes and saith his mea culpa and setteth all his hopes in God.

T is my ungoverned spirit hath wrought all this mischief,—mea culpa!


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More About Mea Culpa

What does mea culpa mean?

Mea culpa is the Latin way of saying my bad. It literally means “through my (own) fault.”

Mea culpa can be used as an interjection (much like my fault or my bad) or as a noun referring to an apology, as in The senator offered a mea culpa during the press conference.

Example: Dave usually has a hard time admitting he’s wrong, so his mea culpa means a lot.

Where does mea culpa come from?

Mea culpa is a direct loan of a Latin phrase meaning ‘through my (own) fault.” It’s made of the parts mea, meaning “by me” or “through me,” and culpa, meaning “fault.” Culpa is also the root of the words culpable, meaning “deserving blame,” and culprit, meaning “a person guilty of something.”

The phrase mea culpa comes from a Roman Catholic prayer for confessing sin and seeking forgiveness. One line of the prayer is mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, which is usually translated as “through my own fault, through my own fault, through my most grievous fault.”

The phrase was borrowed directly from this prayer and has been in use as an admission of guilt since at least the 1200s. The noun form referring to an apology seems to be much newer, with the first records of it coming from the 1800s. The phrase is now commonly used both ways. When you eat your roommate’s leftover burrito without asking, you could say mea culpa, or you could offer a mea culpa by admitting that you did it and saying that you’re sorry. Or you could just stop eating your roommate’s food!

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How is mea culpa use in real life?

When used as an interjection, mea culpa is usually used to apologize for minor offenses and often has a lighthearted tone. But this is not necessarily the case when it’s used as a noun—it could be used for major admissions of guilt.



Try using mea culpa!

Is mea culpa used correctly in the following passage?

You’re right—I messed up the accounts. Mea culpa.