Word of the Day : September 16, 2021
What It Means
Exonerate means “to clear from a charge of wrongdoing or from blame.”
// The witness’ testimonies were key in exonerating the defendant.
// The report exonerated the captain from any blame for the ship’s running aground.
“The actor met with Sooner State oil rig workers who helped him prepare for his role in ‘Stillwater’ as a father desperate to exonerate his jailed daughter of a murder conviction in France.” — Peter Sblendorio, The Buffalo (New York) News, 1 Aug. 2021
Did You Know?
Exonerate comes from the Latin verb exonerare, meaning “to unburden.” That verb combines the prefix ex- with onus, meaning “load” or “burden.” In its earliest uses, exonerate was applied to physical burdens—a ship, for example, could be exonerated of its cargo when it was unloaded. Later it was used in reference to the freeing of any kind of burden, including blame or charges of wrongdoing.