acquit

verb
ac·​quit | \ ə-ˈkwit How to pronounce acquit (audio) \
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

Synonyms

Antonyms

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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 Two years later, the 27-year-old Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell, days after he was acquitted of a separate double homicide. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Netflix Docuseries Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez Probes the Secret Life of the Convicted Killer and Ex-NFL Star," 15 Jan. 2020 Hernandez’ death came just five days after he was acquitted of double murder charges in the deaths of two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Man Says He Was Aaron Hernandez’s Lover When They Were in School: 'We Had to Hide'," 15 Jan. 2020 A few months after he was acquitted, Sheeran was indicted again, this time in a massive multi-defendant labor racketeering case in a Delaware federal court. Washington Post, "‘The Irishman’ tells us who killed Jimmy Hoffa. A lawyer with a secret trove of documents says the movie got it wrong.," 14 Jan. 2020 In July, Hernandez’s estate settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the families of two men he was acquitted of killing. USA TODAY, "Netflix to release three part documentary: 'Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez'," 21 Dec. 2019 Andrew Johnson had fired the war secretary, which was his right, and he was narrowly acquitted in 1868 in the intense post–Civil War Reconstruction atmosphere. Conrad Black, National Review, "An Impeachment Role for the Supreme Court?," 18 Dec. 2019 And in several instances when lower level sailors have been court-martialed on such charges, they were acquitted. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "Blame Over Justice: The Human Toll of the Navy’s Relentless Push to Punish One of Its Own," 20 Nov. 2019 The crime and Goetz’s ensuing trial — in which he was acquitted — became a flash point for discourse on gun violence and self-defense. Los Angeles Times, "All 59 people name-dropped in Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’: Where are they now?," 26 Sep. 2019 The case went to trial, and he was acquitted two years later. Julia Bricklin, Smithsonian, "How the ‘Blonde Rattlesnake’ Stirred Public Fascination With Female Accomplices," 24 Sep. 2019

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

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Time Traveler for acquit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for acquit

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acquit.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquit?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=a&file=acquit01. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for acquit

acquit

verb
How to pronounce acquit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of acquit

: to decide that someone is not guilty of a crime

acquit

verb
ac·​quit | \ ə-ˈkwit How to pronounce acquit (audio) \
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.

acquit

verb
ac·​quit | \ ə-ˈkwit How to pronounce acquit (audio) \
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

History and Etymology for acquit

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on acquit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for acquit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with acquit

Spanish Central: Translation of acquit

Nglish: Translation of acquit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acquit for Arabic Speakers

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