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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 exoneration
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • exoneration of landlords for conditions at Greenwood's Rancho.

    The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52 Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
  • And as for exoneration—I dont agree with you, and Adrienne doesnt agree.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • There is neither judgment nor exoneration, but merely narration.

    Plays--First Series August Strindberg
  • An official investigation, held at his demand, resulted in his exoneration.

    Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney
  • I'll find this Indian eldorado and your grandfather's exoneration at the same time.

    Ande Trembath

    Matthew Stanley Kemp
  • None of our excuses can be made persuasive enough for exoneration.

    Pieces of Hate Heywood Broun
  • This exoneration was far from satisfying Temple, who conceived that it rather injured than improved his position.

    Benjamin Franklin John Torrey Morse, Jr.
  • I petition that it be examined, and a copy be given me as a safeguard for my exoneration in all particulars.

British Dictionary definitions for exoneration


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 exoneration

1630s, from Latin exonerationem (nominative exoneratio) "an unloading, lightening," noun of action from past participle stem of exonerare (see 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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