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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. 2. release, discharge, free.
1. blame.
Synonym Study
1. See absolve. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for exonerates
Historical Examples
  • I want to get to the truth, and any truth which exonerates you will be very welcome to me.

    The Man Who Knew Edgar Wallace
  • I don't see that that exonerates the man who gives up the keys of the sanctuary, as it were.

    The Touchstone Edith Wharton
  • The statement at once exonerates the Prince of two faults with which his memory has been taxed, those of cowardice and obstinacy.

  • Carlyle deals with the subject in detail in his "Life of Frederick," and exonerates the King.

  • He commends certain officers as deserving rewards, and exonerates many of the religious from the blame of harassing the Indians.

  • “Then I should say, ignorance on the part of the buyers at this vendue, exonerates the dealer from all blame,” said Eleanor.

    Polly's Business Venture

    Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • He exonerates Indian epic poetry, however, from any imputation of Greek influence.

  • I hope she exonerates me from any blame in connection with the announcement made at Sagan?'

    A Modern Mercenary

    Kate Prichard and Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard
  • He exonerates Miller, but accuses the absent Williams of imposture and fraud.

    Strange True Stories of Louisiana

    George Washington Cable
British Dictionary definitions for exonerates


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 exonerates



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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