vin·​di·​cate | \ˈvin-də-ˌkāt \
vindicated; vindicating

Definition of vindicate 

transitive verb

1a : to free from allegation or blame

b(1) : confirm, substantiate

(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

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Other Words from vindicate

vindicator \ˈvin-​di-​ˌkā-​tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for vindicate


absolve, acquit, clear, exculpate, exonerate


criminate, incriminate

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Choose the Right Synonym for vindicate

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," which has been used in English since at least the mid-16th century, are "to set free" (a sense that is now obsolete) and "to avenge." Vindicate 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Foreign orders are giving Chinese electric-vehicle makers a critical foothold in international markets, arguably vindicating Beijing’s costly efforts to support them. Trefor Moss, WSJ, "China ‘Is the Only One in the Race’ to Make Electric Buses, Taxis and Trucks," 3 Dec. 2018 With news Wednesday of the summer retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, now 81, those Christian voters who opted for Trump with the hope of conservative Supreme Court appointments seem vindicated by their vote. Thabiti Anyabwile, Washington Post, "Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t worth compromising with Trump, my fellow evangelicals," 28 June 2018 The Post said Moore believes the discovery of the graves is vindicating for the prisoners who didn’t even receive a proper burial despite the fact that their labor rebuilt Texas following the post-Civil War era. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "A Mass Grave of Former Slaves Was Unearthed in Texas," 20 July 2018 West Virginia just completed a brutal Republican primary where Trump is likely feeling vindicated. NBC News, "Trump has his sights set on West Virginia for the fall," 17 May 2018 Israel feels vindicated by the Trump administration's decision to recognize its capital as Jerusalem. Author: Ruth Eglash, Anchorage Daily News, "Jerusalem welcomes US Embassy as Palestinians decry ‘hostile’ move," 14 May 2018 But if Grinspoon’s views on marijuana have been, for many, vindicated, and Nixon, for almost everyone, discredited, Harvard Medical School’s role in the drama of Grinspoon’s life is more complex. Dan Adams,, "At 89, legendary psychiatrist and marijuana advocate still wonders about Harvard professorship," 28 Apr. 2018 In her 2011 biography, THAT WOMAN, Anne Sebba makes a sporting attempt to vindicate Simpson in the eyes of her countrymen. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy," 27 Mar. 2018 Some of the deal’s critics say DirecTV’s decision this month to increase prices on streaming packages by $5 per month vindicates the Justice Department. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump’s Merger Appeal to Obama," 13 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for vindicate

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vindicate

The first known use of vindicate was circa 1571

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More Definitions for vindicate



English Language Learners Definition of vindicate

: to show that (someone) should not be blamed for a crime, mistake, etc. : to show that (someone) is not guilty

: to show that (someone or something that has been criticized or doubted) is correct, true, or reasonable


vin·​di·​cate | \ˈvin-də-ˌkāt \
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.

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Comments on vindicate

What made you want to look up vindicate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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