Definition of absolution
- The rite of confessing one's sins to a priest and receiving absolution … is also recognized as a sacrament in the Anglican and Orthodox Christian traditions.
- —Peter Steinfels
He asked the priest to give him absolution for his sins.
the jury's verdict of “not guilty” was absolution in the eyes of the law, but the verdict would always be “guilty” in the court of public opinion
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Since the Latin absolutus meant "set free", it's easy to see how absolution came to mean "set free from sin". (And also easy to see why absolute means basically "pure"—that is, originally, "free of sin".) The verb for absolution is absolve. Just as a priest absolves believers of their sins, you may absolve your brother of blame for a household disaster, or you yourself may in time be absolved for that scrape on the car backing out of a parking space.
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
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