absolve

verb
ab·​solve | \ əb-ˈzälv How to pronounce absolve (audio) , -ˈsälv How to pronounce absolve (audio) , -ˈzȯlv, -ˈsȯlv also without l \
absolved; absolving

Definition of absolve

transitive verb

1 formal : to set (someone) free from an obligation or the consequences of guilt The jury absolved the defendants of their crimes. Her youth does not absolve her of responsibility for her actions.
2 formal : to pardon or forgive (a sin) : to remit (a sin) by absolution asked the priest to absolve his sins

Other Words from absolve

absolver noun, formal

Synonyms & Antonyms for absolve

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for absolve

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

Did you know?

The act of absolving can be seen as releasing someone from blame or sin, or "loosening" the hold that responsibility has on a person, which provides a hint about the word's origins. Absolve was adopted into Middle English in the 15th century from the Latin verb absolvere, formed by combining the prefix ab- ("from, away, off") with solvere, meaning "to loosen." Absolve also once had additional senses of "to finish or accomplish" and "to resolve or explain," but these are now obsolete. Solvere is also the ancestor of the English words solve, dissolve, resolve, solvent, and solution.

Examples of absolve in a Sentence

no amount of remorse will absolve shoplifters who are caught, and all cases will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law
Recent Examples on the Web Quinn valued how Parsons the chess piece kept offensive coordinators guessing last year, and the Cowboys organization still declines to absolve him completely of coverage and run-stopping abilities. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2022 Those who do sell are required to sign agreements to refrain from disparaging Homestake and absolve the company of liability, even though illnesses caused by exposure to radioactive waste can take decades to manifest. Mark Olalde, ProPublica, 8 Aug. 2022 The panic in his voice served to underscore the hypocrisy of the Bakersfield Republican’s efforts to absolve Trump of guilt. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2022 However, bluntly labelling a partner can absolve us of self-awareness. Eleanor Morgan, refinery29.com, 1 June 2022 One of the things this law does is absolve online platforms of responsibility for the speech of their users. David Zurawik, CNN, 16 May 2022 His criticism of China and his defense of Hong Kong have, in a way, helped absolve the British of some of the uglier aspects of their rule over the city, including police violence in the 1960s and draconian laws that remain on the books. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 28 July 2022 But the early problems officers encountered – unclear location on the gunman, multiple agencies on scene, Arredondo dropping his radios to run toward the school – don’t absolve police of their responsibility here, Eells says. Peter Nickeas, CNN, 25 July 2022 Moving to a 3% flat income tax would also absolve lawmakers of their need to lift their 4% cap on tax bracket inflation indexing. Patrick Gleason, Forbes, 16 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of absolve

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for absolve

Middle English absolven, borrowed from Latin absolvere "to release, acquit, finish, complete," from ab- ab- + solvere "to loosen, release" — more at solve

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Time Traveler for absolve

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The first known use of absolve was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near absolve

absolutize

absolve

absolvitor

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Absolve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolve. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for absolve

absolve

verb
ab·​solve | \ əb-ˈzälv How to pronounce absolve (audio) , -ˈsälv \
absolved; absolving

Kids Definition of absolve

: to make free from guilt or responsibility He was absolved of wrongdoing.

absolve

transitive verb
ab·​solve | \ əb-ˈzälv, -ˈsälv How to pronounce absolve (audio) \
absolved; absolving

Legal Definition of absolve

1 : to set free or release from some obligation or responsibility a judgment terminating a parent's rights…absolves that parent of all future support obligationsIn re Bruce R., 662 A.2d 107 (1995)
2 : to determine to be free of fault, guilt, or liability a jury absolved the defendant of any negligenceHarbaugh v. Darr, 438 P.2d 74 (1968)

More from Merriam-Webster on absolve

Nglish: Translation of absolve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absolve for Arabic Speakers

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