[ek-skuhl-peyt, ik-skuhl-peyt]

verb (used with object), ex·cul·pat·ed, ex·cul·pat·ing.

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 formsex·cul·pa·ble [ik-skuhl-puh-buh l] /ɪkˈskʌl pə bəl/, adjectiveex·cul·pa·tion, nounnon·ex·cul·pa·ble, adverbnon·ex·cul·pa·tion, nounself-ex·cul·pa·tion, nounun·ex·cul·pa·ble, adjectiveun·ex·cul·pat·ed, adjective
Can be confusedexculpate exonerate inculpate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exculpate

Historical Examples of exculpate

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for exculpate



(tr) to free from blame or guilt; vindicate or exonerate
Derived Formsexculpable (ɪkˈskʌlpəbəl), adjectiveexculpation, nounexculpatory, adjective

Word Origin for exculpate

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

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