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

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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 "finish, 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 Their ultimate objective, although never realized, was to absolve the federal government of any responsibility for Indian affairs. Brianna Theobald, Time, "A 1970 Law Led to the Mass Sterilization of Native American Women. That History Still Matters," 27 Nov. 2019 The appellate court ruled that the alternative wasn’t enough to absolve Dignity of the claim of discrimination. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Court reinstates lawsuit against Catholic hospital for refusing transgender man’s surgery," 18 Sep. 2019 The president’s son confessed, but both he and his uncle were absolved by a Guatemalan court that ruled there was not sufficient evidence against them. Washington Post, "AP Interview: Guatemala graft body’s chief happy despite end," 2 Sep. 2019 According to a criminal complaint filed by Nisman, Kirchner agreed to absolve the officials accused of planning and directing the AMIA bombing. Alejandra Salazar, refinery29.com, "The True Story Behind Netflix’s Nisman: The Prosecutor, The President & The Spy," 1 Jan. 2020 Taylor absolved Dalton of most of the blame for the interceptions. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Andy Dalton throws four interceptions in Cincinnati Bengals loss to New England Patriots," 15 Dec. 2019 The parliamentary meeting was scheduled to discuss a general amnesty law that several protest groups suspect could be exploited by the country's political elite to absolve themselves of financial crimes. Tamara Qiblawi And Ghazi Balkiz, CNN, "Lebanon's protesters shut parliament by blocking lawmakers," 19 Nov. 2019 Though their attorneys presented extensive video of the race in an effort to absolve Maximum Security, Caldwell clung to the statute that provides the stewards the last word in disputes. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Judge dismisses suit to overturn Maximum Security's disqualification in the Kentucky Derby," 15 Nov. 2019 The internal investigation absolved Izrailov of wrongdoing. USA Today, "A security empire deployed guards with violent pasts across the U.S. Some went on to rape, assault or kill," 31 Oct. 2019

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.

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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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Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Absolve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolve. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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.
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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on absolve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for absolve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with absolve

Spanish Central: Translation of absolve

Nglish: Translation of absolve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absolve for Arabic Speakers

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