Define guilt trip

Guilt-trip Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

1 of 2


transitive verb

: to cause feelings of guilt in (someone) : to try to manipulate the behavior of (someone) by causing feelings of guilt : guilt

How often have we been guilt-tripped into giving people generic birthday greetings on their walls even if they are just casual acquaintances? Michael Grothaus

guilt-tripping noun

Americans may be susceptible to moral and religious guilt-tripping, but they don't want a theocracy. Ellen Willis

guilt trip

2 of 2

: an instance of feeling guilty : a feeling of guilt or blame caused especially by another person's comment or accusation

give someone a guilt trip [=make someone feel guilty]

"You haven't talked to her in weeks, Mona." "Thanks for the guilt trip." Armistead Maupin

"My waiter asked 'Now, do we want straws OR do we want to save the turtles?' and honestly we all deserve that environmental guilt trip"… Rebekah White

I cheated in school—and I cheated myself … I knew it was wrong. I was already on a serious guilt trip. Art Schlichter et al.

Word History

First Known Use


1974, in the meaning defined above


1970, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler

The first known use of guilt-trip was in 1970

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Cite this Entry



“Guilt-trip.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Nov. 2022.

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Merriam-Webster unabridged

GUILT TRIP | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary

Examples of guilt trip

guilt trip

Progressive interest groups have too much invested in a far-reaching guilttrip narrative to simply retreat.

From Baltimore Sun