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From Latin expiātus, past participle of expiō (atone for).



expiate (third-person singular simple present expiates, present participle expiating, simple past and past participle expiated)

  1. (transitive or intransitive) To atone or make reparation for.
    • Clarendon
      The Treasurer obliged himself to expiate the injury.
    • 1888, Leo XIII, "Quod Anniversarius",
      Thus those pious souls who expiate the remainder of their sins amidst such tortures will receive a special and opportune consolation, []
    • 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Return of Tarzan, Chapter VI,
      I am going out to expiate a great wrong, Paul. A very necessary feature of the expiation is the marksmanship of my opponent.
  2. (transitive) To make amends or pay the penalty for.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To relieve or cleanse of guilt.
    • 1829, Pierre Henri Larcher, Larcher's Notes on Herodotus, vol. 2, p. 195,
      [] and Epimenides was brought from Crete to expiate the city.
  4. To purify with sacred rites.
    • Bible, Deuteronomy xviii. 10 (Douay version)
      Neither let there be found among you any one that shall expiate his son or daughter, making them to pass through the fire.

Usage notesEdit

Intransitive use, constructed with for (like atone), is obsolete in Christian usage, but fairly common in informal discussions of Islam.

Related termsEdit


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