ab·​so·​lu·​tion | \ ˌab-sə-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce absolution (audio) \

Definition of absolution

: the act of forgiving someone for having done something wrong or sinful : the act of absolving someone or the state of being absolved specifically : a remission of sins pronounced by a priest (as in the sacrament of reconciliation) 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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for absolution



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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of absolution in a Sentence

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
Recent Examples on the Web The death of the white man conjures images of Christ’s resurrection and absolution for white sins. Jennifer Percy, Harper's magazine, "The Skinning Tree," 20 Jan. 2020 Which means the World Series win, and absolution of all that suffering, will last a lifetime. Sean Gregory, Time, "My Top Sports Moment of the Decade: The Chicago Cubs Win the World Series," 31 Dec. 2019 They’re asking why women won’t give them absolution. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Good Place Wonders How to Reform #MeToo’s Disgraced Men," 3 Oct. 2019 There’s something to be said, too, for a whistleblower movie that doesn’t swerve directly into simple absolution at the end. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Mark Ruffalo stands alone in underbaked Dupont drama Dark Waters: Review," 13 Nov. 2019 Only by confessing his privilege and repenting for his beliefs would Kavanaugh gain absolution and relief. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Kavanaugh and the Crisis of Legitimacy," 21 Sep. 2019 The city’s noir is a puzzle of flawed heroes and devious interlopers: cops, private eyes, assassins, gamblers, schemers and femme fatales looking not so much for absolution as for a reckoning that will edge them through another day. Los Angeles Times, "Why L.A. is the perpetual dark heart of crime writing," 17 Oct. 2019 The Roys assume themselves to be exempt from the rules; the great comedy of Succession—and the great tragedy—is that nature will allow no such absolution. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Why Succession Works So Well as Horror," 13 Oct. 2019 Images that derive from conservative Catholic penitents — a person who confesses sins and seeks absolution — merges with a marauding Ku Klux Klansman, a cruel villain of American history. Los Angeles Times, "Review: As impeachment flashbacks go, few better than Philip Guston’s ‘Tricky Dick’ drawings," 9 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absolution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of absolution

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for absolution

Middle English absoluciun, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin absolūtiōn-, absolūtiō "completion, acquittal, release," from absolū- (stem, before consonants, of absolvere "to set free, acquit, finish") + -tiōn-, -tiō suffix of action nouns — more at absolve

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Time Traveler for absolution

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The first known use of absolution was in the 13th century

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Statistics for absolution

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Absolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolution. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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