To clear someone of blame or wrongdoing, or to relieve someone of a duty or obligation.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Acquit, absolve, vindicate, free, release


Accuse, charge, convict, blame, incriminate

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun exonerations, exoneration
Verb exonerates, exonerated, exonerating, exonerate
Adjective exonerative
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • After a thorough investigation, the DNA evidence exonerated the suspect of the crime.

  • The court exonerated the defendant of all charges due to lack of evidence.

  • The CEO was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the company’s accounting scandal.

  • The police officer was exonerated of any misconduct during the investigation.


The word “exonerate” is often used in legal contexts, particularly when someone has been accused of a crime or wrongdoing. It means to clear someone of blame or guilt, and is often used when new evidence comes to light that proves someone’s innocence.

The word is derived from the Latin word “exonero”, which means “to unload” or “to discharge”. This origin reflects the idea that when someone is exonerated, they are essentially being “unloaded” or relieved of the burden of blame or responsibility.

One common prefix that can be added to “exonerate” is “pre-”, which means “before”. This can result in the word “pre-exonerate”, which means to clear someone of blame or wrongdoing before they are accused. This is a more proactive version of exonerate, and implies taking action to prevent false accusations or unjust blame.

Another common variation of “exonerate” is “self-exonerate”, which refers to someone clearing themselves of blame or wrongdoing, without the need for outside intervention. This can be done through providing evidence or explanations that prove their innocence.

Overall, the word “exonerate” is a powerful and important term, particularly in legal contexts, as it signifies the clearing of someone’s name and reputation.