vin·​di·​cate | \ ˈvin-də-ˌkāt How to pronounce vindicate (audio) \
vindicated; vindicating

Definition of vindicate

transitive verb

1a : to free from allegation or blame
(2) : to provide justification or defense for : justify
c : to protect from attack or encroachment : defend
2 : avenge
3 : to maintain a right to
4 obsolete : to set free : deliver

Synonyms & Antonyms for vindicate



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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

maintain, assert, defend, vindicate, justify mean to uphold as true, right, just, or reasonable. maintain stresses firmness of conviction. steadfastly maintained his innocence assert suggests determination to make others accept one's claim. asserted her rights defend implies maintaining in the face of attack or criticism. defended his voting record vindicate implies successfully defending. his success vindicated our faith in him justify implies showing to be true, just, or valid by appeal to a standard or to precedent. the action was used to justify military intervention

Did you know?

It's not surprising that the two earliest senses of vindicate are "to set free" (a sense that is now obsolete) and "to avenge." Vindicate, which has been used in English since at least the mid-16th century, derives from Latin vindicatus, the past participle of the verb vindicare, meaning "to set free, avenge, or lay claim to." Vindicare, in turn, derives from vindex, a noun meaning "claimant" or "avenger." Other descendants of vindicare in English include such vengeful words as avenge itself, revenge, vengeance, vendetta, and vindictive. Closer cousins of vindicate are vindicable ("capable of being vindicated") and the archaic word vindicative ("punitive").

Examples of vindicate in a Sentence

She will be completely vindicated by the evidence. These discoveries vindicate their theory. Their approach to the problem has been vindicated by the positive results. He felt vindicated when the truth became known.
Recent Examples on the Web The district court and 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the school district, but the Supreme Court's six-member conservative majority appeared to be looking for ways to overturn those results and vindicate the coach's actions. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 Appeals to continuity after World War II could condemn or vindicate. New York Times, 15 Apr. 2022 There’s no surer way to vindicate the fears of those people that led them to seek NATO membership than to witness their country being overrun by the Russian military. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 28 Feb. 2022 Seeking to vindicate their constitutional rights, the family sued Martin, arguing that his force against each woman was unconstitutionally excessive. Alexa Gervasi, The Week, 5 Apr. 2022 Insofar as equity investing is concerned, Mr. Ellis’s findings seem to vindicate Mr. Fama’s big idea and Bogle’s big innovation. Daniel Rasmussen, WSJ, 4 Jan. 2022 Kudos to the Justices for taking this opportunity to vindicate equal treatment under the law regardless of race, especially when the left is pushing racial calculations into policies far beyond campus. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 Jan. 2022 The same remains true today, as pro-life Americans labor to vindicate that promissory note for all people, born and unborn. Alexandra Desanctis, National Review, 17 Jan. 2022 After a midsummer lull in cases that appeared to vindicate Mr. Johnson’s gamble, the Omicron variant has now driven new cases in Britain to more than 150,000 a day. Mark Landler, New York Times, 8 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of vindicate

circa 1571, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for vindicate

Latin vindicatus, past participle of vindicare to lay claim to, avenge, from vindic-, vindex claimant, avenger

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The first known use of vindicate was circa 1571

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vindicate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for vindicate


vin·​di·​cate | \ ˈvin-də-ˌkāt How to pronounce vindicate (audio) \
vindicated; vindicating

Kids Definition of vindicate

1 : to free from blame or guilt The evidence will vindicate her.
2 : to show to be true or correct Later discoveries vindicated their claim.

More from Merriam-Webster on vindicate

Nglish: Translation of vindicate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vindicate for Arabic Speakers


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