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Old French blâme, blasmer (= Provençal blasme, Old Spanish blasmo, Italian biasimo), on Romanic type blasimo, < blasimare < Latin blasphēmāre. Compare Latin blasphēmus, Greek βλάσϕημος adj. ‘blasphemous, reviling.’


  • 1: an expression of disapproval or reproach : censure
  • 2a : a state of being blameworthy : culpability
b archaic : fault, sin


Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. There are other senses of praise and blame that are not ethically relevant. One may praise someone's good dress sense, and blame the weather for a crop failure.

Blaming is also a way of devaluing others. The end result is that the blamer feels superior. Others are seen as less worthwhile making the blamer "perfect". Off-loading blame means putting the other person down by emphasizing his or her flaws.