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[bleym] /bleɪm/
verb (used with object), blamed, blaming.
to hold responsible; find fault with; censure:
I don't blame you for leaving him.
to place the responsibility for (a fault, error, etc.) (usually followed by on):
I blame the accident on her.
Informal. blast; damn (used as a mild curse):
Blame the rotten luck.
an act of attributing fault; censure; reproof:
The judge said he found nothing to justify blame in the accident.
responsibility for anything deserving of censure:
We must all share the blame for this deplorable condition.
to blame, at fault; censurable:
I am to blame for his lateness.
Origin of blame
1150-1200; (v.) Middle English blamen < Anglo-French, Old French blasmer < Vulgar Latin *blastēmāre, for Late Latin blasphēmāre to blaspheme; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French bla(s)me, derivative of the v.
Related forms
blamer, noun
overblame, verb (used with object), overblamed, overblaming.
self-blame, noun
unblaming, adjective
Can be confused
blame, censure, condemn (see synonym study at the current entry)
1, 2. reproach, reprove, reprehend, criticize. Blame, censure, condemn imply finding fault with someone or something. To blame is to hold accountable for, and disapprove because of, some error, mistake, omission, neglect, or the like: Whom do you blame for the disaster? The verb censure differs from the noun in connoting scolding or rebuking even more than adverse criticism: to censure one for extravagance. To condemn is to express an adverse (especially legal) judgment, without recourse: to condemn conduct, a building, a person to death. 4. reprehension, condemnation, stricture, reproach, animadversion. 5. guilt, culpability, fault, sin.
Usage note
Some speakers avoid blame on as informal (He blamed the fight on me), preferring blame alone (He blamed me) or blame for (He blamed me for it). Since all three forms occur with equal frequency in educated usage, they may all be considered equally acceptable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for self-blame
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was some time before Lady Charlton could be brought to believe it all, and then at first she was overwhelmed with self-blame.

    Great Possessions Mrs. Wilfrid Ward
  • I do not think you have cause for self-blame at all, but, on the contrary, have for self-approval.

    A Prince of Anahuac James A. Porter
  • A deep depression recovers by changing the point of view from a feeling of unworthiness and self-blame to one of normality.

    Benign Stupors August Hoch
  • But when he came to reflect on what he had done, he was full of contrition and self-blame.

    A Life's Secret Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Meanwhile his own self-blame at these times left its mark upon him.

  • She spoke of sorrows, personal sorrows, much as he might speak of his—vaguely, and with self-blame.

  • In her self-blame she wrote to her brother to confess how she had failed in her duty toward the boy.

    True to His Home Hezekiah Butterworth
  • She spoke of sorrows, personal sorrows, such as he might speak of his—vaguely, and with self-blame.

  • Blame and punishment, as well as self-blame, have regard to character and so to the future.

British Dictionary definitions for self-blame


responsibility for something that is wrong or deserving censure; culpability
an expression of condemnation; reproof
be to blame, to be at fault or culpable
verb (transitive)
(usually foll by for) to attribute responsibility to; accuse: I blame him for the failure
(usually foll by on) to ascribe responsibility for (something) to: I blame the failure on him
to find fault with
Derived Forms
blamable, blameable, adjective
blamably, blameably, adverb
Word Origin
C12: from Old French blasmer, ultimately from Late Latin blasphēmāre to blaspheme
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
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Word Origin and History for self-blame



c.1200, "find fault with;" c.1300, "lay blame on," from Old French blasmer (12c., Modern French blâmer) "to rebuke, reprimand, condemn, criticize," from Vulgar Latin *blastemare, from Late Latin blasphemare "revile, reproach" (see blaspheme). Replaced Old English witan with long "i." Related: Blamed; blaming.


early 13c., from Old French blasme "blame, reproach; condemnation," a back-formation from blasmer (see blame (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with self-blame
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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