Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Deserving of blame or censure as being wrong, evil, improper, or injurious. See Synonyms at blameworthy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. meriting condemnation, censure or blame, especially as something wrong, harmful or injurious; blameworthy

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Deserving censure; worthy of blame; faulty; immoral; criminal.
  • adj. Guilty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Deserving censure; blamable; blameworthy: said of persons or their conduct.
  • Guilty.
  • n. A culprit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. deserving blame or censure as being wrong or evil or injurious

Etymologies

Middle English coupable, from Old French, from Latin culpābilis, from culpāre, to blame, from culpa, fault.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English culpable, from Old French culpable, from Latin culpabilis ("blameworthy"), from culpare ("to blame, condemn"), from culpa ("fault, crime, mistake") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Remember, there are also specific child abuse laws that many states have that go beyond intentional crimes that can make you criminally responsible for what they call culpable neglect.

    CNN Transcript May 5, 2002

  • She was reduced to the last degree of poverty; her friends held themselves aloof, disgusted at what they termed her culpable weakness; she and her children suffered from cold and hunger; and during her subsequent illness she and they must have starved and frozen but for the public charities, that would not let anyone in our midst perish from want of necessary food and fuel.

    Ishmael In the Depths

  • And so the story goes, of all the organizations and institutions that have engaged in culpable activities, one is singled out for punishment by the Federal Government.

    ACORN files lawsuit over loss of federal funding

  • To me the only place the Feds are culpable is in the authorization of funds to build up the levees.

    Responsibility « BuzzMachine

  • During the reign of the late king, the ark had been left in culpable neglect.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • If allowing sin to enter creation makes God "culpable" -- well, it can't be said He hasn't suffered for it ...

    Pharyngula

  • "If allowing sin to enter creation makes God" culpable "-- well, it can't be said He hasn't suffered for it ..."

    Pharyngula

  • Still, though, the head of the investigation said there was no evidence of deliberate distortion or what Lord Butler called culpable negligence.

    CNN Transcript Jul 17, 2004

  • Added to this culpable failure to take action long ago, I feel bound to say that there is an additional factor behind this tragic debacle, namely a culpable incompetence.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Thus, disease, accident, or unemployment might be due to immorality or intemperance in the more or less distant, past; and what is now classified as culpable inefficiency or shiftlessness might be ultimately traceable to prolonged unemployment.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 12: Philip II-Reuss

Comments

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  • The word sounds like it's okay to pile things on top of him/her/it, and it also has sort of a hangdog, Eeyore sort of feel to it.

    June 9, 2009