OxfordWords guest post: culprit

Be sure to visit the OxfordWords blog, where I’ve guest-authored another post. This time, it’s on origin of culprit:

Amnesiadisguises, and mistaken identities? No, these are not the plot twists of a blockbuster thriller or bestselling page-turner. They are the story of the word culprit  At first glance, the origin of culprit looks simple enough. Mea culpaculpableexculpateand the more obscure inculpate: these words come from the Latin culpa, “fault” or “blame.” One would suspect that culprit is the same, yet we should never be so presumptuous when it comes to English etymologyCulprit is indeed connected to Latin’s culpa, but it just can’t quite keep its story straight.

Read “The curious case of culprit” in full.

m ∫ r ∫

3 thoughts on “OxfordWords guest post: culprit

  1. I love this analysis of the origins of “culprit.” Always a fan of etymology, I look forward to more fascinating stories of our language. I bought the miniaturized OED in my twenties and still use it today. English has such a rich history, with so many words borrowed from other languages that I still enjoy the detective work digging out a word’s roots.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s