AskDefine | Define blame

Dictionary Definition

blame adj : expletives used informally as intensifiers; "he's a blasted idiot"; "it's a blamed shame"; "a blame cold winter"; "not a blessed dime"; "I'll be damned (or blessed or darned or goddamned) if I'll do any such thing"; "he's a damn (or goddam or goddamned) fool"; "a deuced idiot"; "tired or his everlasting whimpering"; "an infernal nuisance" [syn: blasted, blamed, blessed, damn, damned, darned, deuced, everlasting, goddam, goddamn, goddamned, infernal]


1 an accusation that you are responsible for some lapse or misdeed; "his incrimination was based on my testimony"; "the police laid the blame on on the driver" [syn: incrimination, inculpation]
2 a reproach for some lapse or misdeed; "he took the blame for it"; "it was a bum rap" [syn: rap]


1 put or pin the blame on [syn: fault] [ant: absolve]
2 harass with constant criticism; "Don't always pick on your little brother" [syn: find fault, pick]
3 attribute responsibility to; "We blamed the accident on her"; "The tragedy was charged to her inexperience" [syn: charge]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /bleɪm/
  • Rhymes with: -eɪm


  1. The state of having caused a bad event.
    The blame for starting the fire lays on the arsonist.


state of having caused a bad event
  • Dutch: schuld
  • Hebrew: אשמה (ashma)
  • Italian: colpa
  • Português: culpa


  1. To assert that something or someone caused a bad event; to place blame upon.
    The arsonist was blamed for the fire.


place blame upon
  • Arabic: يلوم
  • Czech: vinit
  • Dutch: beschuldigen
  • Finnish: syyttää
  • German: beschuldigen
  • French: reprocher
  • Hebrew: להאשים (le'haashym)
  • Ido: blamar
  • Spanish: culpar
  • Português: culpar

Related terms

Extensive Definition

To blame is to hold another person or group responsible for perceived faults real, imagined, or merely invented for pejorative purposes. Blame is an act of censure, reproach, and often outright condemnation. Blame is used to place responsibility and accountability for faults on the blamed person or group.


Blame seems basic to hominid behaviour, as the cat did it incident with Koko the gorilla demonstrated very vividly.
Blaming is nearly universally observed in children. It seems to be an essential part of human development. When language skills develop, one of the first practical things that can be done with them is to apply them to blame others for one's own misdeeds, and get them sanctioned or punished while one simply continues to engage in more of same.

Specific examples of blame

Blame in organizations

Some systems theorists and management consultants, such as Gerald Weinberg, held that the flow of blame in an organization was itself one of the most important indicators of that organization's robustness and integrity. Blame flowing upwards in a hierarchy, he argued, proved that superiors were willing to take full for their orders to their inferiors and supplying them with the resources required to do their jobs. But blame flowing downwards, from management to staff, or laterally between professionals, were signs of organizational failure.
Organizations can apply censure and demotion to managers and leaders who do not take full responsibility for their actions - in effect, to blame them for deflecting blame, rather than admit and redress it. These measures are quite common in government and diplomacy, in situations where no punishment can be applied, e.g. due to diplomatic immunity.

Blame in politics

Resignation of a public official is another common way to accept blame, although in doing so the person may publicly blame others for the resignation.

Blame in version control

In Subversion svn blame is a command to show author and revision information in-line for the specified files or URLs. Each line of text is annotated at the beginning with the author (username) and the revision number for the last change to that line. SVN documentation

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account for, accountability, accounting for, accredit with, accrete to, accusal, accusation, accuse, accusing, acknowledge, allegation, allegement, anathema, anathematize, anathemize, animadvert on, answerability, application, apply to, arraign, arraignment, arrogation, ascribe to, ascription, assign to, assignation, assignment, attach to, attachment, attribute to, attribution, bill of particulars, blame for, blame on, bring home to, bringing of charges, bringing to book, call to account, cast blame upon, cast reflection upon, castigation, censure, charge, charge on, charge to, complain against, complaint, condemn, condemnation, confess, connect with, connection with, count, credit, credit with, criticism, criticize, cry down, cry out against, cry out on, cry shame upon, culpability, damn, damnation, decrial, decry, delation, denounce, denouncement, denunciate, denunciation, derivation from, disapprobation, disapproval, etiology, excoriation, fasten upon, father upon, fault, fix on, fix upon, flaying, fulminate against, fulmination, fustigation, guilt, hang on, hold against, honor, impeach, impeachment, implication, impugn, imputation, impute, impute to, incriminate, indict, indictment, information, innuendo, insinuation, inveigh against, knock, lawsuit, lay to, laying of charges, liability, objurgation, onus, palaetiology, pillorying, pin on, pinpoint, place upon, placement, plaint, point to, prosecution, rap, rebuke, recriminate, recrimination, refer to, reference to, reflect upon, reprehend, reprehension, reprimand, reproach, reprobate, reprobation, reproof, reprove, responsibility, saddle on, saddle with, saddling, scold, set down to, settle upon, shake up, skin, skinning alive, stricture, suit, taxing, true bill, unspoken accusation, veiled accusation
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