27 Idioms for Guilt: Explained and Used in Sentences


Understanding idioms for guilt can help you express yourself better when you’re feeling remorseful or responsible for something you’ve done wrong.

In this article, we’ll explore common idioms related to guilt, what they mean, and how to use them in sentences.

Guilt feels heavy, like a weight pressing down on your chest. If you’re looking for more comparisons, check out similes for guilt here: Similes for guilt. And for deeper metaphors depicting guilt, explore them here: Metaphors for guilt.

What is an idiom for guilt?

Idioms for guilt are phrases or expressions that convey feelings of remorse, responsibility, or culpability.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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They are commonly used in everyday language to describe situations where someone feels guilty about something they’ve done or failed to do.

Summary

IdiomMeaningSentence
Feel guilty as sinTo feel extremely guilty.After lying to his parents, John felt guilty as sin.
Guilt tripTo make someone feel guilty, usually through manipulation or emotional pressure.Sarah’s constant reminders guilt-tripped her friends into helping her.
Guilty conscienceFeeling guilty about something you’ve done or failed to do.Mark’s guilty conscience kept him awake at night.
Eat away at guiltTo feel increasingly guilty about something over time.The lie he told continued to eat away at his guilt.
Bear guiltTo accept responsibility for something wrong that you have done.Tom knew he had to bear the guilt for his actions.
Carry the guiltTo feel burdened by feelings of guilt.Mary carried the guilt of her mistake with her.
Guilty as chargedTo admit that one is guilty of something.The thief confessed, saying, “Guilty as charged.”
Guilty pleasureSomething one enjoys despite feeling guilty about it.Eating ice cream late at night is my guilty pleasure.
Guilt by associationFeeling guilty or responsible because of being associated with someone who has done wrong.He was fired due to guilt by association.
Guilt-riddenFilled with or characterized by guilt.She was guilt-ridden after forgetting her friend’s birthday.
Suffer from guiltTo experience distress or discomfort due to feelings of guilt.Maria suffered from guilt after betraying her friend’s trust.
Wear the guilt like a badgeTo openly display or acknowledge one’s feelings of guilt.He continued to wear the guilt like a badge of shame.
Guilt complexA deep-seated feeling of guilt about many things, often irrational.Her guilt complex made her apologize for even the smallest mistakes.
Guilty of somethingTo be responsible for committing a particular wrongdoing.The defendant was found guilty of the crime.
Let guilt eat at youAllowing feelings of guilt to consume or overwhelm you.Don’t let guilt eat at you; instead, confront your mistakes.
Guilt-freeFeeling free from any sense of guilt or wrongdoing.Enjoying her vacation, Sarah felt completely guilt-free.
Burdened with guiltFeeling weighed down by feelings of guilt.He was burdened with guilt after forgetting his anniversary.
Wall of guiltA psychological barrier formed by feelings of guilt that prevents emotional intimacy or connection.Despite their efforts to reconcile, there was still a wall of guilt between them.
Overwhelmed with guiltFeeling completely inundated or swamped by feelings of guilt.She was overwhelmed with guilt after accidentally breaking her mother’s favorite vase.
Heavy with guiltFeeling a significant weight or burden of guilt.His heart felt heavy with guilt as he realized the consequences of his actions.
Lay guilt on someoneTo make someone feel guilty about something.She tried to lay guilt on him for missing her birthday party.
Guilt-ladenFull of or burdened with feelings of guilt.Her voice was heavy and guilt-laden as she apologized for her mistake.
Guilty lookA facial expression that suggests someone feels guilty.His guilty look gave away the fact that he had broken the vase.
Wallow in guiltTo indulge in or dwell on feelings of guilt excessively.He chose to wallow in guilt over his past mistakes.
Ridden with guiltOverwhelmed or burdened by feelings of guilt.She was ridden with guilt after betraying her friend’s trust.
Guilt trip someoneTo deliberately make someone feel guilty.She tried to guilt trip her sister into lending her money.
Absolve guiltTo free someone from feelings of guilt or responsibility.His sincere apology helped to absolve her guilt and repair their friendship.
idioms for guilt

Idioms for Guilt

1. Feel guilty as sin

Meaning: To feel extremely guilty.
In a Sentence: After lying to his parents, John felt guilty as sin.

2. Guilt trip

Meaning: To make someone feel guilty, usually through manipulation or emotional pressure.
In a Sentence: Sarah’s constant reminders about how much she had sacrificed guilt-tripped her friends into helping her.

3. Guilty conscience

Meaning: Feeling guilty about something you’ve done or failed to do.
In a Sentence: Despite his efforts to ignore it, Mark’s guilty conscience kept him awake at night.

4. Eat away at guilt

Meaning: To feel increasingly guilty about something over time.
In a Sentence: The lie he told continued to eat away at his guilt until he couldn’t bear it any longer.

5. Bear guilt

Meaning: To accept responsibility for something wrong that you have done.
In a Sentence: Despite his attempts to shift the blame, Tom knew he had to bear the guilt for his actions.

6. Carry the guilt

Meaning: To feel burdened by feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: Mary carried the guilt of her mistake with her everywhere she went.

7. Guilty as charged

Meaning: To admit that one is guilty of something.
In a Sentence: When confronted with the evidence, the thief confessed, saying, “Guilty as charged.”

8. Guilty pleasure

Meaning: Something one enjoys despite feeling guilty about it.
In a Sentence: Eating ice cream late at night is my guilty pleasure.

9. Guilt by association

Meaning: Feeling guilty or responsible because of being associated with someone who has done wrong.
In a Sentence: He was fired from his job due to guilt by association with the embezzling manager.

10. Guilt-ridden

Meaning: Filled with or characterized by guilt.
In a Sentence: She was guilt-ridden after forgetting her best friend’s birthday.

11. Suffer from guilt

Meaning: To experience distress or discomfort due to feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: Maria suffered from guilt after betraying her friend’s trust.

12. Wear the guilt like a badge

Meaning: To openly display or acknowledge one’s feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: Despite his apologies, he continued to wear the guilt like a badge of shame.

13. Guilt complex

Meaning: A deep-seated feeling of guilt about many things, often irrational.
In a Sentence: Her guilt complex made her apologize for even the smallest mistakes.

14. Guilty of something

Meaning: To be responsible for committing a particular wrongdoing.
In a Sentence: The defendant was found guilty of the crime.

15. Let guilt eat at you

Meaning: Allowing feelings of guilt to consume or overwhelm you.
In a Sentence: Don’t let guilt eat at you; instead, confront your mistakes and learn from them.

16. Guilt-free

Meaning: Feeling free from any sense of guilt or wrongdoing.
In a Sentence: Enjoying her vacation, Sarah felt completely guilt-free for taking time off work.

17. Burdened with guilt

Meaning: Feeling weighed down by feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: He was burdened with guilt after forgetting his anniversary.

18. Wall of guilt

Meaning: A psychological barrier formed by feelings of guilt that prevents emotional intimacy or connection.
In a Sentence: Despite their efforts to reconcile, there was still a wall of guilt between them.

19. Overwhelmed with guilt

Meaning: Feeling completely inundated or swamped by feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: She was overwhelmed with guilt after accidentally breaking her mother’s favorite vase.

20. Heavy with guilt

Meaning: Feeling a significant weight or burden of guilt.
In a Sentence: His heart felt heavy with guilt as he realized the consequences of his actions.

21. Lay guilt on someone

Meaning: To make someone feel guilty about something.
In a Sentence: She tried to lay guilt on him for missing her birthday party.

22. Guilt-laden

Meaning: Full of or burdened with feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: Her voice was heavy and guilt-laden as she apologized for her mistake.

23. Guilty look

Meaning: A facial expression that suggests someone feels guilty.
In a Sentence: His guilty look gave away the fact that he had broken the vase.

24. Wallow in guilt

Meaning: To indulge in or dwell on feelings of guilt excessively.
In a Sentence: Instead of moving forward, he chose to wallow in guilt over his past mistakes.

25. Ridden with guilt

Meaning: Overwhelmed or burdened by feelings of guilt.
In a Sentence: She was ridden with guilt after betraying her friend’s trust.

26. Guilt trip someone

Meaning: To deliberately make someone feel guilty.
In a Sentence: She tried to guilt trip her sister into lending her money.

27. Absolve guilt

Meaning: To free someone from feelings of guilt or responsibility.
In a Sentence: His sincere apology helped to absolve her guilt and repair their friendship.

Here are 10 quizzes about the idioms mentioned in the article:

Quiz 1:

Question: What does the idiom “Guilty as charged” mean?

  • A) Feeling free from any sense of guilt.
  • B) To admit that one is guilty of something.
  • C) To make someone feel guilty through manipulation.
  • D) To feel extremely guilty.

Answer: B) To admit that one is guilty of something.

Quiz 2:

Question: In which idiom is someone described as feeling “extremely guilty”?

  • A) Bear guilt
  • B) Guilt-ridden
  • C) Feel guilty as sin
  • D) Guilty pleasure

Answer: C) Feel guilty as sin

Quiz 3:

Question: What does the idiom “Wear the guilt like a badge” mean?

  • A) To openly display one’s feelings of guilt.
  • B) To feel burdened by feelings of guilt.
  • C) To free someone from feelings of guilt.
  • D) To make someone feel guilty.

Answer: A) To openly display one’s feelings of guilt.

Quiz 4:

Question: Which idiom describes feeling “filled with or characterized by guilt”?

  • A) Guilt by association
  • B) Guilt-ridden
  • C) Let guilt eat at you
  • D) Guilty look

Answer: B) Guilt-ridden

Quiz 5:

Question: What does the idiom “Guilt trip” involve?

  • A) To make someone feel guilty, usually through manipulation.
  • B) To accept responsibility for something wrong.
  • C) To feel burdened by feelings of guilt.
  • D) To feel free from any sense of guilt.

Answer: A) To make someone feel guilty, usually through manipulation.

Quiz 6:

Question: Which idiom describes “indulging in or dwelling on feelings of guilt excessively”?

  • A) Guilty pleasure
  • B) Lay guilt on someone
  • C) Wallow in guilt
  • D) Absolve guilt

Answer: C) Wallow in guilt

Quiz 7:

Question: What does it mean to be “burdened with guilt”?

  • A) To feel free from any sense of guilt.
  • B) To feel burdened by feelings of guilt.
  • C) To admit that one is guilty of something.
  • D) To experience distress due to feelings of guilt.

Answer: B) To feel burdened by feelings of guilt.

Quiz 8:

Question: Which idiom involves “making someone feel guilty about something”?

  • A) Guilt trip someone
  • B) Guilt complex
  • C) Guilty of something
  • D) Heavy with guilt

Answer: A) Guilt trip someone

Quiz 9:

Question: What does the idiom “Guilt by association” mean?

  • A) To be responsible for committing a particular wrongdoing.
  • B) To experience distress due to feelings of guilt.
  • C) Feeling guilty or responsible because of being associated with someone who has done wrong.
  • D) To feel extremely guilty.

Answer: C) Feeling guilty or responsible because of being associated with someone who has done wrong.

Quiz 10:

Question: Which idiom describes “a facial expression that suggests someone feels guilty”?

  • A) Guilty pleasure
  • B) Guilty look
  • C) Guilt-free
  • D) Burdened with guilt

Answer: B) Guilty look

Conclusion

Understanding idioms for guilt can help you express yourself more effectively when dealing with feelings of remorse or responsibility. By knowing the meanings and contexts of these idiomatic expressions, you can navigate conversations about guilt with greater confidence and clarity.

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