[ ig-zon-uh-reyt ]
/ ɪgˈzɒn əˌreɪt /

verb (used with object), ex·on·er·at·ed, ex·on·er·at·ing.

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.

Nearby words

  1. exogenous hyperglyceridemia,
  2. exome,
  3. exomphalos,
  4. exon,
  5. exonarthex,
  6. exoneration,
  7. exonuclease,
  8. exonumia,
  9. exonumist,
  10. exonym

Origin of exonerate

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
Can be confusedexculpate exonerate inculpate

Synonym study

1. See absolve.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for exonerates

British Dictionary definitions for exonerates


/ (ɪɡˈzɒnəˌreɪt) /

verb (tr)

to clear or absolve from blame or a criminal charge
to relieve from an obligation or task; exempt
Derived Formsexoneration, nounexonerative, adjectiveexonerator, noun

Word Origin for exonerate

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

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