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 exonerate (audio) , eg-​ \ noun
exonerative \ ig-​ˈzä-​nə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce exonerate (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 The two historians’ legal troubles stem from the Polish government’s ongoing effort to exonerate Poland—both ethnic Poles and the Polish state—of the deaths of three million Jews in Poland during the Nazi occupation. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Historians Under Attack for Exploring Poland’s Role in the Holocaust," 26 Mar. 2021 However, experts say such rationale has been used before in attempts to exonerate white men. NBC News, "How 'sex addiction' has historically been used to absolve white men," 20 Mar. 2021 Chronicling the controversial 1978 Philadelphia police raid on the radical group MOVE and the aftermath that led to a son’s lifelong fight to exonerate his parents. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘My Fair Lady’; ‘Marry Poppins’," 19 Mar. 2021 Attorney Imran Syed of the Michigan Innocence Clinic spent 10 years fighting to exonerate Harrington. Sahar Akbarzai, CNN, "This Wayne County, Michigan, program is helping exonerate people for crimes they didn't commit. Now it's going statewide," 1 Mar. 2021 To start, if your father is actually wearing a wire to obtain evidence that might exonerate you in a federal sting operation, tweeting about it might be ill-advised. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Matt Gaetz’s Trumpian Defense Against Allegations of Sex Trafficking," 31 Mar. 2021 Assane is set on proving that his father's boss Hubert Pellegrini (Hervé Pierre) was behind it and exonerate him from beyond the grave. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "'Lupin' Fans Aren't Going to Be Super Thrilled About This Part 2 News," 27 Mar. 2021 In the majority opinion for the case, Judge Ojetta Thompson wrote that the ruling did not exonerate Tsarnaev in any way and advised that the bomber be given another trial to see if he should be executed. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Supreme Court to consider death penalty for Boston Marathon bomber," 22 Mar. 2021 Even so, any such hearing run by a Bay Area Democrat is unlikely to be received well by many Texas leaders, especially as Khanna works to exonerate wind and solar power. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, "A Texas-size failure, followed by a familiar Texas response: Blame California," 18 Mar. 2021

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

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exonerate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exonerate. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for exonerate

exonerate

verb

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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