• synonyms


[ek-skuhl-peyt, ik-skuhl-peyt]
See more synonyms for exculpate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), ex·cul·pat·ed, ex·cul·pat·ing.
  1. to clear from a charge of guilt or fault; free from blame; vindicate.
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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. 2018

Related Words

excuse, exoneration, acquittal, vindication, acquittance

Examples from the Web for exculpation

Historical Examples

  • He foresaw that any attempt at exculpation would be as fruitless as dangerous.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • She fought on the consuming fire to have her exculpation heard.

  • But, because she was Clancy Deane, they were not words of exculpation, or of apology.

    Find the Woman

    Arthur Somers Roche

  • His exculpation was complete before every tribunal of opinion.

  • But that very circumstance is our exculpation, instead of our guilt.

    Dangerous Connections, v. 1, 2, 3, 4

    Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

British Dictionary definitions for exculpation


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

Word Origin and History for exculpation


1715, noun of action from exculpate.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper