expiate vb Expiate, atone mean to make amends or give satisfaction for an offense, a sin, a crime, or a wrong. The same distinctions in implications and connotations are observable in their derivative nouns expiation and atonement.
Expiate and expiation imply an attempt to undo the wrong one has done by suffering a penalty, by doing penance, or by making reparation or redress

let me here, as I deserve, pay on my punishment, and expiate, if possible, my crime— Milton


unless that man in there is to be given a chance of expiation in another life, then capital punishment is a damnable horror— Mackenzie

Atone and atonement have been greatly colored in their meanings by theological controversies. The basic implication of reconciliation became mixed with and sometimes subordinated to other implications (as appeasement, propitiation, or reparation). In general use atone (usually with for) and atonement emphasize a restoration through some compensation of a balance that has been lost. When the reference is to an offense, sin, or crime the words usually imply expiation, but they stress the rendering of satisfaction for the evil that has been done by acts that are good or meritorious; thus, one expiates a sin by doing penance for it, but one atones for it by leading a good life afterwards

she hated herself for this movement of envy . . . and tried to atone for it by a softened manner and a more anxious regard for Charlotte's feelings— Wharton

Sometimes a deficiency or a default rather than an offense may be atoned for (as by an excess of something else that is equally desirable)

for those who kneel beside us at altars not Thine own, who lack the lights that guide us, Lord, let their faith atone!—Kipling

Analogous words: redress, remedy, rectify, *correct, amend: redeem, deliver, save (see RESCUE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Expiate — Ex pi*ate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Expiated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Expiating}.] [L. expiatus, p. p. of expiare to expiate; ex out + piare to seek to appease, to purify with sacred rites, fr. pius pious. See {Pious}.] 1. To extinguish the guilt of by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Expiate — Ex pi*ate, a. [L. expiatus,p. p] Terminated. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • expiate — index redeem (satisfy debts), redress, repent Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • expiate — c.1600 (OED entry has a typographical error in the earliest date), from L. expiatus, pp. of expiare to make amends, atone for (see EXPIATION (Cf. expiation)). Related: Expiable (1560s); expiated; expiating …   Etymology dictionary

  • expiate — [v] make amends for absolve, amend, appease, atone, atone for, compensate, correct, do penance, excuse, forgive, pay one’s dues*, rectify, redeem, redress, remedy, square things*; concepts 67,126 …   New thesaurus

  • expiate — ► VERB ▪ atone for (guilt or sin). DERIVATIVES expiable adjective expiation noun expiator noun expiatory adjective. ORIGIN Latin expiare appease by sacrifice , from pius pious …   English terms dictionary

  • expiate — [eks′pē āt΄] vt. expiated, expiating [< L expiatus, pp. of expiare, to make satisfaction or atonement < ex , out + piare, to appease, akin to pius, PIOUS] 1. to make amends or reparation for (wrongdoing or guilt); atone for 2. to pay the… …   English World dictionary

  • expiate — verb /ˈɛk.spi.eɪt/ a) To atone or make reparation for. Thus those pious souls who expiate the remainder of their sins amidst such tortures will receive a special and opportune consolation, b) To make amends or pay the penalty for. I am going out… …   Wiktionary

  • expiate — UK [ˈekspɪeɪt] / US [ˈekspɪˌeɪt] verb [transitive] Word forms expiate : present tense I/you/we/they expiate he/she/it expiates present participle expiating past tense expiated past participle expiated very formal to show that you are sorry for… …   English dictionary

  • expiate — verb ( ated; ating) Etymology: Latin expiatus, past participle of expiare to atone for, from ex + piare to atone for, appease, from pius faithful, pious Date: circa 1500 transitive verb 1. obsolete to put an end to 2. a. to ex …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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