Printable Version
Pronunciation: ri-kri-mê-nayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To accuse in return, to make a counteraccusation, retaliatory incrimination.

Notes: This word may be used transitively or intransitively. The intransitive sense is equivalent to the transitive one if the prepositions on or against are used: 'He recriminates on/against them' = 'He recriminates them'. Recrimination is the action noun that follows this verb around, recriminator, the personal noun, and we have a choice of adjectives: recriminatory or recriminative.

In Play: This verb is often used to lay blame on another person for faults that are laid at our feet: "Kay Largo recriminated Dr. Oz for the failure of his diet plan that led to her obesity." Some people do it all the time: "Chris Cross is irresponsible and recriminatory: he blames everybody else for his own failures."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on the past participle, recriminatus, of the Medieval Latin verb recriminari, comprising re- "again, back" + criminare "to accuse", from crimen "accusation, judgment, crime". English borrowed its words crime and criminal from this Latin 'crime' family. The Latin root apparently came from the Proto-Indo-European root krei- "discriminate, distinguish" which, with other suffixes, came to Greek as krisis "judgment, decision", which English borrowed as crisis, and kriterion "standard; tribunal", which English also took as criterion.

Dr. Goodword,

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