Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To clear of guilt or blame.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To clear of or to free from guilt; exonerate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To clear from alleged fault or guilt; to prove to be guiltless; to relieve of blame; to acquit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To clear from a charge or imputation of fault or guilt; vindicate from an accusation of wrong-doing.
  • Serve to relieve of or free from blame; serve as an excuse for.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. pronounce not guilty of criminal charges

Etymologies

Medieval Latin exculpāre, exculpāt- : Latin ex-, ex- + Latin culpa, guilt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin ex culpa (ex ("from") + culpa ("blame")) + a Latinate ending. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • We invent our god to exculpate us when we find it necessary to perform the unpleasant act of killing those who invent their god when they find it necessary to perform the unpleasant task of killing us.

    Stefan Themerson, Tom Harris

    December 29, 2011