Recently I saw some uses of the idiom thanks to in negative contexts. They sound strange to me, probably because thanks express a grateful feeling or acknowledgment of a benefit, so I thought thanks to would be used only in positive contexts.

Searching ELU I found this 2010 question and the accepted answer clearly states that

Thanks to has a positive connotation (unless used sarcastically).

Other answers in the same question also say that thanks to should be used in positive contexts.

Contrariwise, today I read this headline:

Memorial Day parades canceled, thanks to wet weather.

Also Dictionary.com show a negative context for thanks to:

The case went poorly thanks to the lawyer's incompetence.

I know that sarcastically thanks to can be used in any context, but at least the headline about the Memorial Day does not seem sarcastically to me.

Perhaps the question I mentioned earlier is outdated, as 6 years have passed, and now thanks to is also used in negative contexts? How does that sound to a native speaker of English?

TL;DR, Is thanks to (as a synonym for due to) used in negative contexts?

  • 1
    Oh, yes. Frequently in political discourse, anyway. "Insert tragedy, thanks to insert villain". May 30, 2016 at 15:22
  • What do you think "sarcastically" means? Such usage has been reasonably common for half a century at least.
    – Hot Licks
    May 30, 2016 at 17:24
  • @HotLicks, I meant to be used in a non-sarcastically connotation. I´ll edit the question to make that clear.
    – gmauch
    May 30, 2016 at 17:26
  • 1
    Whatever. Such usage is well-established and is not something new.
    – Hot Licks
    May 30, 2016 at 17:44
  • 1
    It doesn't sound wrong. Native speakers don't tear apart the words to analyze their individual meanings- 'thanks to' just means 'because of', as kumar says. This can even be a source of humor- to point out the apparent dissonance. May 30, 2016 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


According to merriam webster, looks like it is used in place of "because of", just like it would mean in any sentence using "thanks to", positive or negative.

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