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Borrowed from Latin vindicātus, perfect passive participle of vindicō (lay legal claim to something; set free; protect, avenge, punish), from vim, accusative singular of vīs (force, power), + dīcō (say; declare, state). See avenge.


  • IPA(key): /ˈvɪn.dɪˌkeɪt/
  • (file)


vindicate (third-person singular simple present vindicates, present participle vindicating, simple past and past participle vindicated)

  1. (transitive) To clear of an accusation, suspicion or criticism.
    to vindicate someone's honor
    • 2008, Karpyshyn, Drew, Mass Effect: Ascension[1], Del Rey Books, →ISBN, OCLC 1128929913, page 3:
      As a man of vision, he understood this. Without Cerberus, humanity was doomed to an existence of groveling subservience at the feet of alien masters. Still, there were those who would call what he did criminal. Unethical. Amoral. History would vindicate him, but until it did he and his followers were forced to exist in hiding, working toward their goals in secret.
  2. (transitive) To justify by providing evidence.
    to vindicate a right, claim or title
    • 2012 June 19, Phil McNulty, “England 1-0 Ukraine”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      The Ukrainians immediately demanded a goal and their claims were vindicated as replays showed the ball crossed the line before Terry's intervention.
      Also see: United National Congress, Trinidad and Tobago
      Kamla Persad Bissessar: " We have been vindicated, but it is a victory for the people"
  3. (transitive) To maintain or defend (a cause) against opposition.
    • 2019, Eli Valley, “A Springtime of Erasure”, in Jewish Currents, number Fall 2019, page 14:
      When Trump's election pulled back the curtain on the rise of the far-right in America, I'd naively assumed the Jewish left would be vindicated.
    to vindicate the rights of labor movement in developing countries
  4. (transitive) To provide justification for.
    The violent history of the suspect vindicated the use of force by the police.
  5. (transitive) To lay claim to; to assert a right to; to claim.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To liberate; to set free; to deliver.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To avenge; to punish
    a war to vindicate infidelity

Related terms[edit]





  1. second-person plural present active imperative of vindicō