Definition of expiate in English:


See synonyms for expiate

Translate expiate into Spanish

transitive verb

[with object]
  • Atone for (guilt or sin)

    ‘their sins must be expiated by sacrifice’
    • ‘I agree with you David, and I think this is the way that he deals with his problems, and in fact the way he expiates his guilt.’
    • ‘Founded exactly 25 years ago, this group of ostentatious do-gooders vow ‘to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt’.’
    • ‘This is not simply the story of a gentle, deluded old man whose attempts to expiate his guilt were poorly judged.’
    • ‘‘I'm clear in my mind about the need to expiate our collective guilt as a society,’ said the party leader.’
    • ‘In speaking of criminal justice it states that the punishment should be ‘proportionate to the gravity of the offense’ and that it may avail to expiate the guilt of the offender.’
    • ‘This is promoted by a system of rituals which reinvoke and celebrate the original passions of the primal crime, designed to expiate feelings of guilt.’
    • ‘No penance would ever expiate the sin against free government,’ he said, ‘of holding that a President can escape control of executive powers by law through assuming his military role.’’
    • ‘For three centuries inhabitants of the Sertao have relied on pilgrimages to sacred sites, deep into this inhospitable land, to expiate their sins, acquire amulets, and simply exchange news.’
    • ‘He bears all patiently, and at the end of that period an angel tells him that his sins are expiated and he is restored to his family and possessions.’
    • ‘If you got involved in some crime and you had to expiate your sins, you didn't go to the local courts, you went to the local priest and you made an appropriate offering.’
    • ‘If we follow the ascetic method of punishing ourselves in order to expiate our ‘sins,’ we will never have the chance to understand our minds properly.’
    • ‘Like a zealot who demands a public flagellation to expiate his sin, Martin's thirst for punishment grows until his mental health is in doubt.’
    • ‘It is absurd to indict a whole people or to banish a whole people to some historical purgatory where they can expiate their sins.’
    • ‘The professor sees in his pupil a chance to expiate past sins.’
    • ‘King Lear is a metaphorical description of one man's journey through hell in order to expiate his sin.’
    • ‘Abby and Scott sublimate their guilt while Buddy tries to expiate his through a material gift.’
    • ‘Am I expiating the crime of slighting my father so much?’
    • ‘He is to be sacrificed to ensure the sins of the settlement are expiated.’
    • ‘His perjury has now been completely expiated, and is very unlikely to recur.’
    • ‘This matters less than that the injury be expiated and honour restored.’
    atone for, make amends for, make up for, do penance for, pay for, redress, redeem, offset, square, make good, make redress for, make reparation for, make recompense for, make restitution for, purge
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/ˈekspēˌāt/ /ˈɛkspiˌeɪt/


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘end (rage, sorrow, etc.) by suffering it to the full’): from Latin expiat- ‘appeased by sacrifice’, from the verb expiare, from ex- ‘out’ + piare (from pius ‘pious’).