Definition of exonerate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzɒnəreɪt/


[with object]
1(Of an official body) absolve (someone) from blame for a fault or wrongdoing: an inquiry exonerated those involved they should exonerate these men from this crime
More example sentences
  • He is particularly pleased the findings exonerated his men of blame.
  • A report, to be published by the Department of Defence, will exonerate the men of wrongdoing and recommend that their efforts be officially recognised.
  • In all three instances, Carroll's testimony exonerated him of any blame.
absolve, clear, acquit, declare innocent, find innocent, pronounce not guilty, discharge;
rare exculpate
2 (exonerate someone from) Release someone from (a duty or obligation): Pope Clement V exonerated the king from his oath to the barons
More example sentences
  • At least it exonerated them from their usual role in being unable to hold on to leads.
  • In fact, you could be the best minister in terms of performance, that doesn't exonerate you from being part of a team.
  • What can be known from the past as well as what will never be revealed does not exonerate us from inventing ourselves according to choices for which we alone must assume responsibility.
release, discharge, relieve, free, liberate;
excuse, exempt, except
informal let off
rare dispense



Pronunciation: /ɪɡˈzɒnərətɪv/


Late Middle English: from Latin exonerat- 'freed from a burden', from the verb exonerare, from ex- 'from' + onus, oner- 'a burden'.

  • Exonerate ‘absolve from blame’ is from Latin exonerare ‘free from a burden’, from ex- ‘from’ and onus, oner- ‘a burden’, source of onerous (Late Middle English) ‘burdensome’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ex|on¦er|ate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.