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 Clinton was eventually acquitted by the Senate, but the political partisanship that Gingrich helped usher in has only worsened, culminating in the devotion shown to President Donald Trump by congressional Republicans. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Passion of Newt Gingrich," 8 Nov. 2019 Free was acquitted in a separate trial after Watkins’ conviction. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, "Attorneys to GA Supreme Court: Man couldn’t have committed 2000 murder," 7 Nov. 2019 Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury in July of all the charges except one minor count: bringing discredit on the armed forces, by posing for a photo with the corpse of the captive he was accused of killing. BostonGlobe.com, "The Navy SEAL at the center of one the highest-profile war crimes cases in years had his sentence drastically reduced Tuesday by the Navy’s top admiral, sparing the SEAL from the most serious punishment he still faced, a steep demotion that could have cost him nearly $1 million in retirement pay.," 30 Oct. 2019 Oliver was acquitted after his defense attorney argued at trial that phone records showed his phone in Hagerstown while Henderson was still alive. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "Sister of Knicks player Reggie Bullocks killed in Baltimore," 30 Oct. 2019 Dante Servin was acquitted in 2015 by a judge of involuntary manslaughter in the off-duty fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Judge agrees to expunge record of ex-Chicago cop acquitted of conspiracy in Laquan McDonald’s shooting," 25 Oct. 2019 All 12 were acquitted on the more serious charge of rebellion, which implied the use of violence, brought by state prosecutors and lawyers for the far-right Spanish party Vox. NBC News, "Protests erupt after Spain convicts leading Catalan separatists," 15 Oct. 2019 Garcia was acquitted of one count — solicitation to commit murder — in what prosecutors had presented as a murder-for-hire scheme orchestrated by Markel’s inlaws. Tonya Alanez, sun-sentinel.com, "South Florida hit man faces death penalty for killing FSU professor, but mistrial for girlfriend," 11 Oct. 2019 Johnson was acquitted in the Senate by a vote of 35-19, one vote short of 36 votes needed. Brian Pascus, CBS News, "Pelosi launches impeachment inquiry into Trump: What is it and what happens next?," 4 Oct. 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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Statistics for acquit

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for acquit

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

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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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