Trend Watch

Giuliani: Secret Recordings 'Powerful Exculpatory Evidence'

Lookups rise 8200% after story

Exculpatory raced to the top of our lookup heap on July 20th, 2018, after the publication (and online discussion) of a story in which Rudy Giuliani employed it in a manner that struck some as inapt, considering the circumstances (the headline of the story in The New York Times is "Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model").

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Mr. Trump had directed Mr. Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, write a check, rather than sending cash, so it could be properly documented
“In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” Mr. Giuliani said.
— Matt Apuzzo, Maggie Haberman, & Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times, 20 Jul/ 2018

Exculpatory is defined as "tending or serving to exculpate," and exculpate as "to clear from alleged fault or guilt." The word comes from the Latin ex- (meaning "away from") and culpa ("blame, guilt"). Exculpate and exculpatory have a brace of antonyms, little-used in English: inculpate and inculpatory. The word has been in use since the early 18th century, with our earliest evidence currently coming in 1727.

And some of the Defendants liv'd in Belfast, and others near it, where they might off-hand have exculpatory Evidences ready to do them Justice, which they want here.
— Presbyterian Church in Ireland, A Narrative of the Proceedings of Seven General Synods, 1727

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