vindicate

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
  1. verb
    show to be right by providing justification or proof
    vindicate a claim”
    synonyms: justify
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    types:
    excuse, explain
    serve as a reason or cause or justification of
    legitimate
    show or affirm to be just and legitimate
    alibi
    exonerate by means of an alibi
    type of:
    maintain, uphold
    support against an opponent
  2. verb
    clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting proof
    “You must vindicate yourself and fight this libel”
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    type of:
    acquit, assoil, clear, discharge, exculpate, exonerate
    pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
  3. verb
    maintain, uphold, or defend
    vindicate the rights of the citizens”
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    type of:
    defend, maintain
    state or assert
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