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[ek-skuhl-peyt, ik-skuhl-peyt] /ˈɛk skʌlˌpeɪt, ɪkˈskʌl peɪt/
verb (used with object), exculpated, exculpating.
to clear from a charge of guilt or fault; free from blame; vindicate.
Origin of exculpate
1650-60; < Latin exculpātus freed from blame, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + culpātus blamed (past participle of culpāre; see culpable)
Related forms
[ik-skuhl-puh-buh l] /ɪkˈskʌl pə bəl/ (Show IPA),
exculpation, noun
nonexculpable, adverb
nonexculpation, noun
self-exculpation, noun
unexculpable, adjective
unexculpated, adjective
Can be confused
exculpate, exonerate, inculpate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for exculpate
  • Each makes some attempt to exculpate the other.
  • Cameras exculpate people just as well as they incriminate them.
  • It is alleged that without this exemption the defendant would be required to exculpate himself.
  • They operate on precisely the opposite theory, that the suspect's normal reaction will be to try to exculpate himself.
  • Thus, their initial statements are often either incomplete or even falsely exculpate the trafficker.
  • The trier of fact should seek other explanations for the data, some or all of which may exculpate the defendant.
  • The final affidavit reflected events which the witness believed were truthful, but which tended to exculpate the defendants.
British Dictionary definitions for exculpate


/ˈɛkskʌlˌpeɪt; ɪkˈskʌlpeɪt/
(transitive) to free from blame or guilt; vindicate or exonerate
Derived Forms
exculpable (ɪkˈskʌlpəbəl) adjective
exculpation, noun
exculpatory, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin exculpāre, from Latin ex-1 + culpāre to blame, from culpa fault, blame
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exculpate

1650s, from Medieval Latin exculpatus, past participle of exculpare, from Latin ex culpa, from ex "from" (see ex-) + culpa ablative of culpa "blame, fault." Related: Exculpated; exculpating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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