exculpate

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb exculpate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of exculpate are absolve, acquit, exonerate, and vindicate. While all these words 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

When can absolve be used instead of exculpate?

In some situations, the words absolve and exculpate are roughly equivalent. However, 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

Where would acquit be a reasonable alternative to exculpate?

The meanings of acquit and exculpate largely overlap; however, acquit implies a formal decision in one's favor with respect to a definite charge.

voted to acquit the defendant

In what contexts can exonerate take the place of exculpate?

The words exonerate and exculpate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, exonerate implies a complete clearance from an accusation or charge and from any attendant suspicion of blame or guilt.

exonerated by the investigation

When would vindicate be a good substitute for exculpate?

The synonyms vindicate and exculpate are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

Podcast

Thesaurus Entries Near exculpate

Cite this Entry

“Exculpate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/exculpate. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on exculpate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY