To blame is to hold another person or group responsible for perceived faults, whether these faults are 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 onto 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 which can be done with them is to apply them to blaming others for one's own misdeeds, and getting them sanctioned, or punished, while one simply continues with more of the 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 responsibility 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 don't take responsibility for their actions - in effect, to blame them for deflecting blame, rather than admitting and redressing 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 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

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