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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for exculpate
Historical Examples
  • Ossipon tried to exculpate the lukewarmness of his past conduct.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • The McMurrough cried, breathlessly eager to exculpate himself.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • I have made many inquiries about this affair, and they all tend to exculpate you.

  • She showed increasing irritation at his attempt to exculpate her.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • But I wish not to exculpate myself where I feel I have been to blame.

    Albert Gallatin John Austin Stevens
  • You will exculpate yourself by denying the truth of this story, then?

    Dona Perfecta B. Perez Galdos
  • This alone is enough to exculpate him of the charge of writing novels.

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

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • And then I attempted to exculpate myself: I could not prove that the things were stolen.

    Poor Jack Frederick Marryat
  • She was quite feverish in her anxiety to condemn herself and exculpate her lover.

    Vagabondia Frances Hodgson Burnett
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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