ac·​quit·​tal ə-ˈkwi-tᵊl How to pronounce acquittal (audio)
: a setting free from the charge of an offense by verdict, sentence, or other legal process

Example Sentences

The case resulted in acquittal of the defendant. Several jurors voted for acquittal. The case resulted in an acquittal of the defendant.
Recent Examples on the Web Upon Madeleine’s acquittal, a new life of fame, wealth and tabloid celebrity awaits — until the truth comes out. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 17 May 2023 Durham charged three people, one of whom pleaded guilty and two won acquittals at trial. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 15 May 2023 Last year, the only two other criminal cases brought by Durham ended in acquittals at trial. Pierre Thomas, ABC News, 15 May 2023 But his strongest memories are of the 1992 LA riots, sparked by the acquittal of four White LAPD officers charged over the beating of Black motorist Rodney King. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 14 May 2023 His lynching, and the subsequent acquittal of his killers, became a catalyst of the national civil rights movement. Tristan Balagtas, Peoplemag, 27 Apr. 2023 All the other trials ended in acquittals or dismissals. Damien Cave, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2023 In right-wing circles, Rittenhouse’s acquittal was celebrated as a Second Amendment victory. Hannah Allam, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2023 This tape was central to Kelly's prior 2008 trial, which ended in his acquittal on child pornography charges. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 23 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acquittal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near acquittal

Cite this Entry

“Acquittal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


ac·​quit·​tal ə-ˈkwit-ᵊl How to pronounce acquittal (audio)
: the freeing (as by verdict) of a person from the charge of a crime

Legal Definition


ac·​quit·​tal ə-ˈkwit-ᵊl How to pronounce acquittal (audio)
: release or discharge from debt or other liability
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on acquittal

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