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verb ac·quit \ə-ˈkwit\

Simple Definition of acquit

  • : to decide that someone is not guilty of a crime

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of acquit


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a archaic :  to pay off (as a claim or debt) b obsolete :  repay, requite

  3. 2 :  to discharge completely (as from an obligation or accusation) <the court acquitted the prisoner>

  4. 3 :  to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress <the recruits acquitted themselves like veterans>

acquitter noun

Examples of acquit in a sentence

  1. The jury acquitted the defendant because there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of the crime.

  2. <acquitted of the robbery charge after proving he was nowhere near the scene of the crime>

Origin of acquit

Middle English aquiten, from Anglo-French aquiter, from a- (from Latin ad-) + quite free of — more at quit

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of acquit

behave, conduct, deport, comport, acquit mean to act or to cause oneself to do something in a certain way. behave may apply to the meeting of a standard of what is proper or decorous <the children behaved in church>. conduct implies action or behavior that shows the extent of one's power to control or direct oneself <conducted herself with unfailing good humor>. deport implies behaving so as to show how far one conforms to conventional rules of discipline or propriety <the hero deported himself in accord with the code of chivalry>. comport suggests conduct measured by what is expected or required of one in a certain class or position <comported themselves as gentlemen>. acquit applies to action under stress that deserves praise or meets expectations <acquitted herself well in her first assignment>.

exculpate, absolve, exonerate, acquit, vindicate mean to free from a charge. exculpate implies a clearing from blame or fault often in a matter of small importance <exculpating himself from the charge of overenthusiasm>. absolve implies a release either from an obligation that binds the conscience or from the consequences of disobeying the law or committing a sin <cannot be absolved of blame>. exonerate implies a complete clearance from an accusation or charge and from any attendant suspicion of blame or guilt <exonerated by the investigation>. acquit implies a formal decision in one's favor with respect to a definite charge <voted to acquit the defendant>. vindicate may refer to things as well as persons that have been subjected to critical attack or imputation of guilt, weakness, or folly, and implies a clearing effected by proving the unfairness of such criticism or blame <her judgment was vindicated>.

ACQUIT Defined for Kids


verb ac·quit \ə-ˈkwit\

Definition of acquit for Students


  1. 1 :  to declare innocent of a crime or of wrongdoing

  2. 2 :  to behave in a certain way <You are to acquit yourselves as young ladies and gentlemen.>

Law Dictionary


verb ac·quit \ə-ˈkwit\

Legal Definition of acquit


  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to discharge completely: as a :  to release from liability for a debt or other obligation —usually used in agreements <forever release, acquit, and discharge each other> b :  to absolve (a criminal defendant) of a charge by judicial process c :  to clear of wrongdoing <the fact…does not acquit them of misrepresentation — In re Hiller, 694 P.2d 540 (1985)>

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to absolve a defendant of criminal liability <must acquit if any reasonable doubt existed — Commonwealth v. Gagliardi, 638 N.E.2d 20 (1994)> — compare convict

Origin of acquit

Old French acquiter to pay off, absolve, acquit, from a-, prefix marking causation + quite free (of an obligation)

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up acquit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a division or portion of a pool or whole

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