ac·quit·tal | \ə-ˈkwi-tᵊl \

Definition of acquittal 

: a setting free from the charge of an offense by verdict, sentence, or other legal process

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for acquittal


clearing, exculpation, exoneration, vindication



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of acquittal in a Sentence

The case resulted in acquittal of the defendant. Several jurors voted for acquittal. The case resulted in an acquittal of the defendant.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

He was voted out the year of his acquittal in the election that brought Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party to power. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "A Very English Scandal," 29 June 2018 So to win Salman’s acquittal, Swift and his team convinced jurors that Mateen had chosen Pulse at random. Tim Fitzsimons /, NBC News, "What really happened that night at Pulse," 12 June 2018 Following the acquittal, a mistrial was declared, according to the Associated Press, after the jury couldn't reach a verdict on a voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charge, the Republic reported. Beatrice Dupuy, Teen Vogue, "The Border Patrol Agent Who Shot Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez Was Found Not Guilty on Murder Charges," 24 Apr. 2018 But a second trial for four people in May ended in acquittals on most charges and a hung jury on the rest. Washington Post, "Government drops charges against all inauguration protesters," 6 July 2018 The Department of Justice has reopened its investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old whose vicious lynching and the subsequent acquittal of his killers became a flashpoint for the civil-rights movement. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "‘New Information’ Leads DOJ to Reopen Emmett Till Murder Case," 12 July 2018 One of Forward Through Ferguson’s uncomfortable conversations took place after the 2017 acquittal of a white former police officer who fatally shot and killed a 24-year old black man. Charli Cooksey, Teen Vogue, "How to Have Uncomfortable Conversations," 10 July 2018 An arrest, an acquittal Almost 14 years to the day after the murder, authorities finally arrested Carpenter, citing a new analysis of the crime scene and blood and tissue evidence. John D'anna, azcentral, "'Hogan's Heroes' star Bob Crane was murdered 40 years ago. Why does it still fascinate us?," 29 June 2018 In 1868, the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson ended with his acquittal on the remaining charges., "This day in history," 26 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of acquittal

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acquittal

Middle English acquitaille, acquytall "release, discharge, conduct," borrowed from Anglo-French acquitel, acquitaill, from aquiter "to acquit" + -el, -aill -al entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about acquittal

Statistics for acquittal

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acquittal

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for acquittal



English Language Learners Definition of acquittal

: the act of deciding that a person is not guilty of a crime : the act of acquitting someone


ac·quit·tal | \ə-ˈkwi-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of acquittal

: the act of declaring someone innocent of a crime or wrongdoing


ac·quit·tal | \ə-ˈkwit-ᵊl \

Legal Definition of acquittal 

1 : release or discharge from debt or other liability

2 : a setting free or deliverance from the charge of an offense by verdict of a jury, judgment of a court, or other legal process — see also implied acquittal, judgment of acquittal at judgment sense 1a — compare conviction

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on acquittal

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


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!