culpa

[kuhl-puh; Latin kool-pah]
noun, plural culpae [kuhl-pee; Latin kool-pahy] .
1.
Roman and Civil Law. negligence; neglect (distinguished from dolus ): One is not always liable before law for culpa resulting in damages.
2.
guilt; sin.

Origin:
1250–1300; Old English < Latin: fault, liability, blame

Dictionary.com Unabridged

mea culpa

[me-ah kool-pah; English mey-uh kuhl-puh, mee-uh]
Latin.
through my fault; my fault (used as an acknowledgment of one's responsibility).
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
culpa (ˈkʊlpɑː)
 
n , pl -pae
1.  civil law an act of neglect
2.  a fault; sin; guilt
 
[Latin: fault]

mea culpa (ˈmeɪɑː ˈkʊlpɑː)
 
an acknowledgment of guilt
 
[literally: my fault]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mea culpa
late 14c., from L., lit. "I am to blame," a phrase from the prayer of confession in the L. liturgy.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
mea culpa [(may-uh kul-puh, kool-puh)]

An expresssion 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.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
His is not the courageous mea culpa it pretends to be.
First of all the slur you voiced, mea culpa, shows me that you don't really want an answer.
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