My Bad – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to take the blame for something minor? If so, you could use the expression, “my bad.” Let’s unpack the meaning and origin of this expression.


The meaning of “my bad” is an apologetic reaction to someone else for your behavior. The saying has versatility in conversation and can suit minor to major transgressions resulting in adverse outcomes for other people or yourself.

For instance, you could use the saying when you’re apologizing for forgetting to take out the trash, and now the raccoons are all over everything. Or you could use it after being caught laundering millions of dollars for Chinese Triads.

Typically, the saying is an admittance of responsibility and accountability when something goes wrong. They’re letting you know that they are to blame.

Example Usage

“Oh no, that’s my bad. I don’t mean to leave the stove on, and now the whole apartment is on fire.”

“Oh no, that’s my bad; I left the TV remote in the other room last night.”

“Sorry about bumping you like that; that’s my bad.”

“I didn’t mean that, my guy, my bad, let me buy you a drink.”

“That came out wrong, my bad. Let me start again, and I’ll get it right.”

“Oh, you’re coming along? My bad, I thought you were staying here.”

“Whoops, that wasn’t supposed to be there when you got home. That’s my bad.”


The origin of the expression “my bad” comes from street slang in the 1970s. The first known use of the colloquial term dates back to the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. The talented musician, Louis Armstrong, appeared on the show as a guest. During the engagement, he wished Ed a happy birthday and then corrected himself by saying, “Happy anniversary, my bad.”

So while there is no evidence t prove that Armstrong invented the expression, he certainly coined it in media. The term would go on to gain traction, especially in the African American community. With the rise of hip-hop music in the 90s, more people started integrating street slang into their everyday conversation around the globe.

Today, it’s common for people in all countries to use the expression “my bad” when they’re trying to take the blame for some minor indiscretion with another person.”

Phrases Similar to My Bad

  • Mea culpa.
  • That’s on me.
  • My fault.
  • Sorry about that.

Phrases Opposite to My Bad

  • That’s your fault.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • My bad.

Ways People May Say My Bad Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase “my bad” in the wrong context for the situation. For instance, if you get in severe trouble with the police for driving too fast and endangering lives, you would say it to the officer when they pull you over. In that situation, the officers might think you are making light of your actions and intend to humiliate them.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase My Bad

You can use the expression “my bad” when you’re apologizing to someone for doing something wrong. Typically, the phrase suits minor transgressions, but you can also use it for huge problems. For instance, if you accidentally bump someone in the hallway, you could use the expression to describe your apology.

Or, if you crash the car, you could tell your dad “my bad” when he gets angry at you for causing the accident and damaging the vehicle. It suits professional and social use. You could tell your friends “my bad” when you don’t show up at the movie theatre as planned. Or you could tell your boss “my bad” when she tells you that you need to do better at your job.

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