ex·​cul·​pa·​to·​ry | \ ek-ˈskəl-pə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce exculpatory (audio) \

Definition of exculpatory

: tending or serving to exculpate

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Did You Know?

No one will blame you for having questions about the origins of exculpatory. The adjective comes from a combination of the prefix ex-, meaning "out of" or "away from," and the Latin noun culpa, which means "blame" or "guilt." Something exculpatory, then, frees one from accusations. Culpa has given English a number of other words, including the verb exculpate ("to clear from alleged fault or guilt"). The related but lesser-known terms inculpate ("to incriminate") and inculpatory ("incriminating") are antonyms of exculpate and exculpatory. Culpable is a synonym of blameworthy, and mea culpa refers to a formal acknowledgment of personal fault or error.

Examples of exculpatory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Judge Sullivan has since made it his practice to begin every case with a Brady order, which reminds prosecutors of their constitutional obligation to provide the defense with any exculpatory evidence. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Checking Robert Mueller," 13 Dec. 2018 And the most exculpatory evidence is in Comey's notes. Fox News, "McCarthy: Mueller is pursuing obstruction case against Trump," 21 Aug. 2018 Title IX judges would be required to consider both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Reviving Due Process on Campus," 20 Nov. 2018 The drawing, the second one the student made, contradicted other evidence and was considered exculpatory, or favorable to Newton. Staff, cleveland.com, "Comment here on cleveland.com court and crime stories for Monday, April 30, 2018," 30 Apr. 2018 The Wisconsin Court of Appeals remanded Avery’s case back to Sutkiewicz, asking the lower court to address whether a CD — which Zellner argued was kept from Avery until April but contains exculpatory evidence — can be submitted into the record. German Lopez, Vox, "The first season was a huge hit, and quite a bit has happened since it premiered.," 18 Oct. 2018 The latest turn in the winding case emerged this week when the county filed a motion to dismiss Brown's suit by claiming the evidence that freed him wasn't really exculpatory and didn't need to be turned over. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Ex-death row inmate Alfred Brown 'bluffed his way out of prison,' county alleges," 9 May 2018 The exculpatory e-mails have no legitimate commercial value to the bankrupt company. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Alan Dershowitz consulting for Harvey Weinstein’s legal team," 4 May 2018 In essence, the exculpatory story is that the president hands out hush money so readily that his attorney has carte blanche to cut six-figure payoff checks on his behalf without checking with the client. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s Stormy Daniels tweets show how easy he is to blackmail," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exculpatory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exculpatory

1781, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for exculpatory

The first known use of exculpatory was in 1781

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More Definitions for exculpatory


ex·​cul·​pa·​to·​ry | \ ek-ˈskəl-pə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce exculpatory (audio) \

Legal Definition of exculpatory

: tending or serving to exculpate an exculpatory clause in a contract — compare inculpatory

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exculpatory

Britannica English: Translation of exculpatory for Arabic Speakers

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something valued as if it were money

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