noun \ˈam-nə-stē\

: a decision that a group of people will not be punished or that a group of prisoners will be allowed to go free

plural am·nes·ties

Full Definition of AMNESTY

:  the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals
amnesty transitive verb

Examples of AMNESTY

  1. The government gave amnesty to all political prisoners.
  2. Illegal immigrants who came into the country before 1982 were granted amnesty.

Origin of AMNESTY

Greek amnēstia forgetfulness, from amnēstos forgotten, from a- + mnasthai to remember — more at mind
First Known Use: 1580

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In criminal law, a sovereign act of oblivion or forgetfulness (from Greek amnestia, “forgetfulness”) granted by a government, especially to a group of persons who are guilty of (usually political) crimes in the past. It is often conditional upon the group's return to obedience and duty within a prescribed period. See also pardon.


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