Simple Definition of exonerate
: to prove that someone is not guilty of a crime or responsible for a problem, bad situation, etc.
Examples of exonerate in a sentence
<the results of the DNA fingerprinting finally exonerated the man, but only after he had wasted 10 years of his life in prison>
Did You Know?
Exonerate derives via Middle English from the past participle of the Latin verb exonerare, meaning "to unburden," formed by combining the prefix ex- with onus, meaning "load" or "burden." (Onus itself lives on with that meaning in English.) In its earliest uses (dating from the 16th century), exonerate was used in the context of physical burdens - a ship, for example, could be exonerated of its cargo when it was unloaded. Later it was used in reference to any kind of burden, until a more specific sense developed, meaning "to relieve (someone) of blame."
Origin of exonerate
Middle English, from Latin exoneratus, past participle of exonerare to unburden, from ex- + oner-, onus load
First Known Use: 1524
Synonym Discussion of exonerate
Rhymes with exonerate
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Origin of exonerate
Latin exonerare to relieve, free, discharge, from ex- out + onerare to burden, from oner-, onus load
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