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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for exculpate
Historical Examples
  • Again he had endeavored to exculpate himself, yet she could not believe that he was innocent.

    In the Roar of the Sea Sabine Baring-Gould
  • Ossipon tried to exculpate the lukewarmness of his past conduct.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • I did not attempt to answer the colonel, nor to exculpate myself; indeed, any appeal to him would have been of no avail.

    Manco, the Peruvian Chief W.H.G. Kingston
  • I have made many inquiries about this affair, and they all tend to exculpate you.

  • I cannot exculpate any commercial nation from this sweeping censure.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • She was quite feverish in her anxiety to condemn herself and exculpate her lover.

    Vagabondia Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • They do not exculpate Sainte-Beuve, but they at least free him from ridicule.

  • I flatter myself, Sir, that these reflections will exculpate me in your eyes.

    Christianity Unveiled Nicolas-Antoine Boulanger
  • Happily, the progress of research on the matter has tended to exculpate Talleyrand.

    Talleyrand Joseph McCabe
  • “For a time, only for a time,” she cried quickly, as if anxious to exculpate her father.

    A Nest of Linnets Frank Frankfort Moore
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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