How can I translate the concept of a "guilt trip" into Spanish? The Free Dictionary provides this definition:

guilt trip

n. Informal
A usually prolonged feeling of guilt or culpability.
lay a guilt trip on

To make or try to make (someone) feel guilty.

The closest I can come up with, would be a more literal translation of the concept:

Don't lay a guilt trip on me.

No me hagas sentir culpable.

However, this loses some of the English meaning--a guilt trip is usually making one feel guilty unjustly. The Spanish translation above could just as easily apply to someone who truly is guilty.

Is there a more idiomatic way of saying this?

  • In Spanish it has the connotation of making someone feel guilty unjustly even if it's true that grammatically speaking it could be used on someone who is actually guilty.
    – Laura
    Oct 9, 2012 at 9:14
  • 1
    the FD doesn't refer to the oblique reference to "trip" as used during the psychedelic era. That's part of the flavor of the idiom, for people who remember that far back. Oct 10, 2012 at 0:27

6 Answers 6


You are right. "No me hagas sentir culpable" does not discriminate between being really guilty and unjustly guilty very precisely. It just means "don't make me feel guilty".

In Spain, there is this really interesting idiomatic expression that's probably what you're looking for.

"Colgar el Sambenito" -> A mí no me cuelgues el sambenito.

The Sambenito (from "San Benito" - Saint Benedict) was a penitential garment that heretics had to wear in public during the Inquisition. It was an actual guilt trip. Nowadays, the figurative meaning of "colgar el sambenito a alguien" always implies that the guilt is unjust (you have been dressed with the garment without any justification). In its strongest meaning, and when intended to make the other culprit in public, it means something with similar connotations to "don't assign me a scapegoat role". However, the meaning is always related to "outside", to "the public opinion", not to your "inside" feelings. I am not sure if this is exactly the same meaning as a "guilt trip".

More info on Wikipedia (English) and in this page (Spanish).

However, I'd say this expression is becoming less and less frequent due to the diminishing interest and knowledge in religion and its related jargon (in most of Spain). In Spain, all people over 30-40 will understand you perfectly. I am not so sure how known this idiom among youngsters is...

  • Very interesting... I love phrases like this (in any language). Will this be understood by anyone outside of Spain?
    – Flimzy
    Oct 11, 2012 at 4:49
  • Frankly, I have no idea. That would be an interesting question to post.
    – user1025
    Oct 11, 2012 at 11:40
  • I just posted it because I am really curious too!
    – user1025
    Oct 11, 2012 at 11:51
  • Related question: spanish.stackexchange.com/q/2943/12
    – Flimzy
    Oct 16, 2012 at 18:54
  • "Will this be understood by anyone outside of Spain?" Here (Argentina), rather like in Spain: I guess most young people don't understand it.
    – leonbloy
    Nov 8, 2012 at 0:47

Perhaps "No me culpabilices" or even "No trates de culpabilizarme".


In Chile we use the word achacar. It is quite polysemic, but works well to "guilt trip".

Ya para, déjate de achacarme. (Enough!, do not make me feel guilty)

Estoy súper achacado por lo que pasó ayer. (I feel very guilty about what happened yesterday)

Me achacaron toda la cuestión. (They have blamed me for all the trouble)

It is a colloquial idiom.


I think that there is no other translation in Spanish for "guilt trip".

As other expressions in Spanish vs. English maybe there is a cultural difference.

As for example with "face problems" in English would be translated in Spanish to "encarar problemas" but this is not correct, because in Spanish we use "atravesar problemas".

Following the definition of "guilt trip", "hacer sentir culpable" would be, the translations that best suits the expression.

  • -1, I disagree with you. "cargo de conciencia" is the proper Spanish interpretation used for "guilt trip". See my answer below.
    – Joe R.
    Oct 20, 2012 at 17:04
  • @FrankComputer Just a little note: here the answers are not really above or below, as they are ordered according to their reputation.
    – JoulSauron
    Oct 20, 2012 at 19:56

"Cargo de conciencia" is used in Spanish as "guilt trip".

  • No creo, me parece que "guilt trip", es hacerle sentir eso a otro, es importante el matiz.
    – JoulSauron
    Oct 20, 2012 at 11:40
  • The most common English usage of the phrase "guilt trip" is when people say "I'm having a guilt trip" or "I'm on a guilt trip". This means that one has a "guilty conscience", thus "cargo de conciencia" would be the best Spanish translation/interpretation for "guilt trip".
    – Joe R.
    Oct 20, 2012 at 17:02
  • Ok, sorry, I misunderstood the OP.
    – JoulSauron
    Oct 20, 2012 at 19:54

I'd say "me remuerde la conciencia", but it hasn't exactly the same implications.

  • But he is talking about making someone else feel guilty.
    – JoulSauron
    Oct 9, 2012 at 14:48
  • @JoulSauron: Then the person being made to feel guilty by another would say "Me haces sentir un cargo de conciencia" or "Me diste un cargo de conciencia".
    – Joe R.
    Oct 20, 2012 at 17:09

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