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[ig-zon-uh-reyt] /ɪgˈzɒn əˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), exonerated, exonerating.
to clear, as of an accusation; free from guilt or blame; exculpate:
He was exonerated from the accusation of cheating.
to relieve, as from an obligation, duty, or task.
Origin of exonerate
late Middle English
1515-25; late Middle English < Latin exonerātus (past participle of exonerāre to unburden, discharge), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + oner- (stem of onus) a burden + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
exoneration, noun
exonerative, adjective
exonerator, noun
unexonerated, adjective
unexonerative, adjective
Can be confused
exculpate, exonerate, inculpate.
1. vindicate. See absolve. 2. release, discharge, free.
1. blame. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for exonerate
  • It's pretty clear that the investigators feel their mission is to exonerate their comrades, not investigate the truth.
  • If a collective group or school board is charged with irresponsibility, it may try to exonerate itself by offering an excuse.
  • However, this report is not meant to excuse their ethical failings, or exonerate them from their wrongdoings.
  • exonerate-Removal of a charge, responsibility, or duty.
  • The camera provided the proof needed to exonerate one driver after an accident.
  • Their aim was to exonerate the regime, and in this they succeeded.
  • There is truth in this, but it does not exonerate him.
  • In the 80's, he was rehabilitated for good after a courageous federal judge finally exonerated him.
  • That would support a kidnapping theory and potentially exonerate Scott.
  • Hypocritical actions of one government cannot serve as grounds to justify or exonerate deplorable acts by other governments.
British Dictionary definitions for exonerate


verb (transitive)
to clear or absolve from blame or a criminal charge
to relieve from an obligation or task; exempt
Derived Forms
exoneration, noun
exonerative, adjective
exonerator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin exonerāre to free from a burden, from onus a burden
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 exonerate

mid-15c., from Latin exoneratus, past participle of exonerare "remove a burden, discharge, unload," from ex- "off" (see ex-) + onerare "to unload; overload, oppress," from onus (genitive oneris) "burden" (see onus). Related: Exonerated; exonerating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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