Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 18, 2017 is:

vindicate • \VIN-duh-kayt\  • verb

1 : avenge

2 a : to free from allegation or blame

b : confirm, substantiate 

c : to provide justification or defense for : justify

d : to protect from attack or encroachment : defend

3 : to maintain a right to


The defendant’s lawyer feels his client will be completely vindicated by the witness’ testimonies.

“For us comic book fans back in that dark age of aesthetic awareness, the ‘Batman’ show meant significantly more. Its unexpected popularity briefly vindicated our obsession with what was considered inappropriate reading for anybody over the age of 9 (I was 11 when it hit the air).” — Bob Strauss, The Daily News of Los Angeles, 11 June 2017

Did you know?

It’s not surprising that the two earliest senses of vindicate are “to set free” (a sense that is now obsolete) and “to avenge.” Vindicate, which has been used in English since at least the mid-16th century, derives from Latin vindicatus, the past participle of the verb vindicare, meaning “to set free, avenge, or lay claim to.” Vindicare, in turn, derives from vindex, a noun meaning “claimant” or “avenger.” Other descendants of vindicare in English include such vengeful words as avenge itself, revenge, vengeance, vendetta, and vindictive. Closer cousins of vindicate are vindicable (“capable of being vindicated”) and the archaic word vindicative (“punitive”).

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