Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To free from blame.
  • transitive v. To free from a responsibility, obligation, or task.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To relieve (someone or something) of a load; to unburden (a load).
  • v. Of a body of water, to discharge (oneself), empty oneself.
  • v. To free from an obligation, responsibility or task.
  • v. To free from accusation or blame.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To unload; to disburden; to discharge.
  • transitive v. To relieve, in a moral sense, as of a charge, obligation, or load of blame resting on one; to clear of something that lies upon oppresses one, as an accusation or imputation.
  • transitive v. To discharge from duty or obligation, as a bail.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To unload; disburden.
  • To ease (one's self) at stool.
  • To relieve, as of a charge or of blame resting on one; clear of something that lies upon the character as an imputation: as, to exonerate one from blame, or from an accusation of crime.
  • To relieve of, as an obligation, debt, or duty; discharge of responsibility or liability: as, a bail exonerates himself by producing his principal in court.
  • Synonyms To exculpate, absolve, acquit, justify, vindicate.
  • Exonerated; freed.

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

  • v. pronounce not guilty of criminal charges

Etymologies

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

Middle English exoneraten, from Latin exonerāre, exonerāt-, to free from a burden : ex-, ex- + onus, oner-, burden.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the participle stem of Latin exonerāre.

Examples

  • If the bomb had exploded, how many of us then would be able to bear the fury of the backlash, which would fall not only on Yemen or "al-Qaeda" but equally if not more so on anyone attempting to "exonerate" them by suggesting "outrageous conspiracy theories" such as the possibility of an inside job?

    Transparent Underpants: MITOP Again

  • I don't want to "exonerate" these characters from their pasts, or even exonerate those who created them.

    Boing Boing: May 4, 2003 - May 10, 2003 Archives

  • He also questioned the authenticity of a Gujarat-based government forensic laboratory's report that, he said, helped to "exonerate" Dhumal in the audio CD controversy.

    PunjabNewsline News

  • It's also unclear whether such testimony would "exonerate" the defendants, Jones wrote.

    New Orleans Saints Central

  • The contest on March 10 in Bedford was closely fought with the final result going down to the spelling equivalent of a penalty shoot-out between St Peter's and Oundle with the latter finally losing the match on 'exonerate'.

    Peterborough Today - News Feed

  • In this context, "exonerate" means the committee found that Professor Jones did no wrong.

    Libertarian Blog Place

  • The previous chairman of the Niagara Parks Commission, during whose tenure an executive spent $400,000 on travel and meals in three years, wants the Ontario government to make public the results of past investigations that "exonerate" the agency.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • While the court of appeal judges said the evidence from Project Small does not "exonerate"

    Thestar.com - Home Page

  • But he clearly isn't using the word "exonerate" in the way it's commonly understood.

    Reason Magazine - All Reason Articles from the Past Year: Page 1

  • This doesn't mean you have to exonerate what he or she did to you -- but it's about being able to look past those transgressions and say, "Yes I can forgive this person for being imperfect."

    Rachel A. Sussman, LCSW: Why You Should Add Forgiveness To Your 2012 Resolutions

Comments

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  • This word was used some in Star Trek.

    June 15, 2012

  • Grisham narrates the events leading up to the 1982 rape and murder of a young cocktail waitress with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity, moving on to astonishment at the prosecution's use of deceit and false testimony to convict Williamson and Fritz and, eventually, elation at the exoneration of the two innocent men - Summary of The Innocent Man

    July 3, 2009