March 06, 2015
exonerate (verb)
\ig-ZAH-nuh-rayt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to clear from a charge of wrongdoing or from blame
How do you use it?
In her opening statement, the defense attorney assured the jury that evidence presented at trial would exonerate the defendant completely.
Are you a word wiz?

We came up with several sentences that contain "exonerate," but it's the wrong word to use in all but one. In which one do you think "exonerate" is used correctly?

You can't be blamed for choosing one of the others, but the correct answer is B. The use of "exonerate" in sentence A doesn't fit its meaning, since a dance move can't be guilty or innocent of anything. Good substitutes there would be "perform" or "execute." Sentence C is out of the running for much the same reason. The verb "extract" would be an excellent replacement for "exonerate." You might also consider "remove" or "press." The telltale morsels on Fido's whiskers in D point to his guilt -- he won't be exonerated this time. That leaves B and the driver who's not at fault for the accident.
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