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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 exculpation
  • The trial is intended by the new government as a ritual of self-congratulation and exculpation.
  • First of all, certainly, is the factor of self-exculpation.
  • It is often difficult to establish standards and make judgments about right and wrong, and about blame and exculpation.
  • He is then to be heard in exculpation, and to withdraw.
British Dictionary definitions for exculpation


/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 exculpation

1715, noun of action from 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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