exonerate

verb
ex·​on·​er·​ate | \ ig-ˈzä-nə-ˌrāt How to pronounce exonerate (audio) , eg- \
exonerated; exonerating

Definition of exonerate

transitive verb

1 : to relieve of a responsibility, obligation, or hardship
2 : to clear from accusation or blame

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Other Words from exonerate

exoneration \ ig-​ˌzä-​nə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce exoneration (audio) , eg-​ \ noun
exonerative \ ig-​ˈzä-​nə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exonerative (audio) , eg-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for exonerate

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for exonerate

exculpate, absolve, exonerate, acquit, vindicate mean to free from a charge. exculpate implies a clearing from blame or fault often in a matter of small importance. exculpating himself from the charge of overenthusiasm absolve implies a release either from an obligation that binds the conscience or from the consequences of disobeying the law or committing a sin. cannot be absolved of blame exonerate implies a complete clearance from an accusation or charge and from any attendant suspicion of blame or guilt. exonerated by the investigation acquit implies a formal decision in one's favor with respect to a definite charge. voted to acquit the defendant vindicate may refer to things as well as persons that have been subjected to critical attack or imputation of guilt, weakness, or folly, and implies a clearing effected by proving the unfairness of such criticism or blame. her judgment was vindicated

Where does exonerate come from?

We won't blame you if you don't know the origins of today's word. 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."

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
Recent Examples on the Web As a judge is expected to soon set a date for Lori Loughlin's trial, her attorney is claiming she's been exonerated by new evidence. TheWeek, "Lori Loughlin's attorney claims new evidence proves her innocence," 27 Feb. 2020 But the grounds on which he will surely be exonerated are also not in doubt. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "Whatever He Wants," 30 Jan. 2020 The five officers who fired weapons on Pawlik were exonerated by internal probes, the district attorney office’s criminal investigation and the police commission’s investigative arm. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland police officers who face termination over fatal 2018 shooting file suit against city," 12 Aug. 2019 The Central Park Five were exonerated, and their convictions vacated. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "A changing America finally demands that the Central Park Five prosecutors face consequences," 8 July 2019 And his aides insist the media already litigated it and exonerated the former vice president, which is not entirely true. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Hope grows for a COVID-19 turning point," 30 Apr. 2020 Internal investigators, Kirkpatrick, the district attorney’s office and the Community Police Review Agency all issued findings that essentially exonerated the officers. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland settles lawsuit, to pay $1.4 million to family of man killed by police in 2018," 28 Apr. 2020 The most recent was Mack Sims, exonerated last year in the 1993 attempted murder of a security guard in Elkhart, Ind. Prosecutors did not disclose that a hypnosis session strengthened the guard’s identification of Sims until 2012. Dallas Morning News, "Texas courts allow hypnosis despite science, overturned convictions," 9 Apr. 2020 But board members said the cameras could exonerate teachers falsely accused of mistreating students. Dallas News, "Will Dallas be the first big-city district to require video cameras in all special education classrooms?," 4 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exonerate.' 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 exonerate

1524, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exonerate

Middle English, from Latin exoneratus, past participle of exonerare to unburden, from ex- + oner-, onus load

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Time Traveler for exonerate

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The first known use of exonerate was in 1524

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Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exonerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exonerate. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for exonerate

exonerate

verb
How to pronounce exonerate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exonerate

formal : to prove that someone is not guilty of a crime or responsible for a problem, bad situation, etc.

exonerate

transitive verb
ex·​on·​er·​ate | \ ig-ˈzä-nə-ˌrāt, eg- How to pronounce exonerate (audio) \
exonerated; exonerating

Legal Definition of exonerate

1 : to relieve especially of a charge, obligation, or hardship
2 : to clear from accusation or blame — compare acquit, exculpate

History and Etymology for exonerate

Latin exonerare to relieve, free, discharge, from ex- out + onerare to burden, from oner-, onus load

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