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Blame vs Culpability vs Guilt vs Fault

Blame, culpability, guilt, fault are comparable when they mean responsibility for misdeed or delinquency.

Blame is a term of shifting denotations, sometimes meaning the reprehension, criticism, or censure of those who find fault or judge one’s work or acts or sometimes a charge or accusation of some fault, misdeed, or delinquency.

When the term denotes responsibility for wrongdoing or delinquency, it also implies the meriting of reproof, censure, or the appropriate penalty.

Often the term means ultimate rather than immediate responsibility.

Culpability usually means little more or no more than the fact or the state of being responsible for an act or condition that may be described as wrong, harmful, or injurious.

Guilt usually carries an implication of a connection with misdeeds of a grave or serious character from the moral and social points of view. Also it usually implies a deserving of severe punishment (as condemnation, loss of freedom, or, in the case of sin, loss of salvation) or of a definite legal penalty (as a fine, imprisonment, or death).

Therefore, when the term denotes responsibility for a crime or sin, it also carries implications of need of proof before punishment can be determined or forgiveness granted.

Fault (see also FAULT 2) is often used in place of culpability as a simpler word.