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[ek-spee-ey-shuh n] /ˌɛk spiˈeɪ ʃən/
the act of expiating.
the means by which atonement or reparation is made.
Origin of expiation
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English expiacioun < Latin expiātiōn- (stem of expiātiō) atonement, satisfaction. See expiate, -ion
Related forms
expiational, adjective
nonexpiation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for expiation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For “without shedding of Blood is no remission,” and the Blood of expiation once shed, can be shed no more for ever.

  • It seemed a little like expiation, too, working here for you, unknown to you.

    Blue-Bird Weather Robert W. Chambers
  • Now the penalty inflicted as an expiation is only a manifestation of the public anger, the material proof of its unanimity.

  • What expiation could she offer hereafter if she were to persevere in this love-affair?

  • It seems like shirking, remonstrated Drayton, his restored manliness eager to begin an expiation.

    Peggy Owen Patriot Lucy Foster Madison
  • There is but one abode for the blessed, my dear mademoiselle, and one expiation for us all.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • With the old conception of law and the expiation of crime it was otherwise.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • That thing which he was minded to do would be expiation in the sight of Heaven.

  • Most certainly, he paid no heed to the fact that his seven years of expiation were nearly sped.

British Dictionary definitions for expiation


the act, process, or a means of expiating; atonement
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 expiation

early 15c., via Middle French expiation or directly from Latin expiationem (nominative expiatio) "satisfaction, atonement," noun of action from past participle stem of expiare "make amends," from ex- "completely" (see ex-) + piare "propitiate, appease," from pius "faithful, loyal, devout" (see pious).

The sacrifice of expiation is that which tendeth to appease the wrath of God. [Thomas Norton, translation of Calvin's "Institutes of Christian Religion," 1561]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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expiation in the Bible

Guilt is said to be expiated when it is visited with punishment falling on a substitute. Expiation is made for our sins when they are punished not in ourselves but in another who consents to stand in our room. It is that by which reconciliation is effected. Sin is thus said to be "covered" by vicarious satisfaction. The cover or lid of the ark is termed in the LXX. hilasterion, that which covered or shut out the claims and demands of the law against the sins of God's people, whereby he became "propitious" to them. The idea of vicarious expiation runs through the whole Old Testament system of sacrifices. (See PROPITIATION.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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