Vindicate means to justify, prove, or reinforce an idea — or to absolve from guilt. If your family thinks you hogged the last piece of pie on Thanksgiving, you'll be vindicated when your younger brother fesses up.

Vindicate derives from the Latin vindicatus, which is the past tense of vindicare, meaning "lay claim to" or "avenge." When a physicist proves a theory that his colleagues derided, he vindicates it. When a lawyer clears her client's name in a trial, she vindicates him. Machiavelli argued that the results he got vindicated his tactics — in other words, the ends justified the means.

Definitions of vindicate

v show to be right by providing justification or proof

vindicate a claim”
excuse, explain
serve as a reason or cause or justification of
show or affirm to be just and legitimate
exonerate by means of an alibi
Type of:
maintain, uphold
support against an opponent

v clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting proof

“You must vindicate yourself and fight this libel”
Type of:
acquit, assoil, clear, discharge, exculpate, exonerate
pronounce not guilty of criminal charges

v maintain, uphold, or defend

vindicate the rights of the citizens”
Type of:
defend, maintain
state or assert