ac·quit | \ə-ˈkwit \
acquitted; acquitting

Definition of acquit 

transitive verb

1 : to discharge completely (as from an accusation or obligation) The court acquitted the prisoner.

2 : to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress The recruits acquitted themselves like veterans.

3a archaic : to pay off (something, such as a claim or debt)

b obsolete : repay, requite

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Other Words from acquit

acquitter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for acquit


absolve, clear, exculpate, exonerate, vindicate


criminate, incriminate

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Choose the Right Synonym for acquit

behave, conduct, deport, comport, acquit mean to act or to cause oneself to do something in a certain way. behave may apply to the meeting of a standard of what is proper or decorous. the children behaved in church conduct implies action or behavior that shows the extent of one's power to control or direct oneself. conducted herself with unfailing good humor deport implies behaving so as to show how far one conforms to conventional rules of discipline or propriety. the hero deported himself in accord with the code of chivalry comport suggests conduct measured by what is expected or required of one in a certain class or position. comported themselves as gentlemen acquit applies to action under stress that deserves praise or meets expectations. acquitted herself well in her first assignment

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

Examples of acquit in a Sentence

The jury acquitted the defendant because there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of the crime. acquitted of the robbery charge after proving he was nowhere near the scene of the crime

Recent Examples on the Web

Bryant's former husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milam, were prosecuted for Till’s death before an all-white jury acquitted them after less than two hours of deliberation. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Why there’s little optimism after the Justice Department reopened the Emmett Till case," 12 July 2018 At a second trial involving another handful of defendants, jurors either acquitted them or were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Keith L. Alexander,, "Federal prosecutors dismiss all remaining Inauguration Day rioting cases," 7 July 2018 The series will also look back on Zimmerman’s trial in 2013 when a jury acquitted him of second-degree murder under the state’s Stand Your Ground Law. Johnny Diaz,, "Trayvon Martin documentary series airs this month," 3 July 2018 Jaime Barria, making his ninth major league start, gave up six runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks in four innings Monday night, a sour note for a starting staff that has generally acquitted itself well despite a baffling array of injuries. Helene Elliott,, "Angels' bullpen needs some relief and a save," 19 June 2018 And given his recent bout with a viral infection on top of 100-plus degree field temperatures, Kingham acquitted himself about as well as coach David Pierce could realistically have hoped for. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "Kody Clemens sparks UT past Texas A&M," 2 June 2018 And given his recent bout with a viral infection on top of 100-plus degree field temperatures, Kingham acquitted himself about as well as coach David Pierce could realistically have hoped for. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas advances to championship game," 2 June 2018 Zimmerman argued self-defense, and a jury acquitted him of all charges. Aimee Green,, "What defenses could MAX stabbing suspect Jeremy Christian possibly mount?," 25 May 2018 Small-cap stocks, in particular, acquitted themselves well, even as 10-year Treasury yields soared to a seven-year high. Bloomberg, Fortune, "It Was an Unlucky Week to Throw $8.8 Billion at the Stock Market," 19 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acquit.' 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 acquit

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for acquit

Middle English aquiten, borrowed from Anglo-French aquiter, from a-, prefix forming transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + -quiter, verbal derivative of quite "free, discharged" — more at quit entry 1

Old French acquiter to pay off, absolve, acquit, from a-, prefix marking causation + quite free (of an obligation)

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Phrases Related to acquit

acquit oneself

Statistics for acquit

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acquit

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

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More Definitions for acquit



English Language Learners Definition of acquit

: to decide that someone is not guilty of a crime


ac·quit | \ə-ˈkwit \
acquitted; acquitting

Kids Definition of acquit

1 : to declare innocent of a crime or of wrongdoing

2 : to behave in a certain way You are to acquit yourselves as young ladies and gentlemen.


ac·quit | \ə-ˈkwit \
acquitted; acquitting

Legal Definition of acquit 

transitive verb

: to discharge completely: as

a : to release from liability for a debt or other obligation usually used in agreements forever release, acquit, and discharge each other

b : to absolve (a criminal defendant) of a charge by judicial process

c : to clear of wrongdoing the fact…does not acquit them of misrepresentationIn re Hiller, 694 P.2d 540 (1985)

intransitive verb

: to absolve a defendant of criminal liability must acquit if any reasonable doubt existedCommonwealth v. Gagliardi, 638 N.E.2d 20 (1994) — compare convict

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Comments on acquit

What made you want to look up acquit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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