ac·​quit·​tal | \ ə-ˈkwi-tᵊl How to pronounce acquittal (audio) \

Definition of acquittal

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for acquittal


clearing, exculpation, exoneration, vindication



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

His acquittal follows the termination of proceedings against Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, in 2016 and the court’s 2014 decision to drop charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, also linked to postelection violence. Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, "International Court Acquits Ex-Ivory Coast President of Crimes Against Humanity," 15 Jan. 2019 Zimmerman has been involved in several run-ins with the law since his 2013 acquittal, including an arrest for aggravated assault with a weapon in 2015. Aric Jenkins, Time, "George Zimmerman Charged With Stalking Private Investigator Working on Jay-Z Documentary About Trayvon Martin," 8 May 2018 Elsewhere, Miami erupted into riots following the acquittal of white police officers who killed black salesman and retired Marine Arthur McDuffie in what many called a case of police brutality. Russell Contreras, The Seattle Times, "Before multiculturalism, blackface rampant in US pop culture," 10 Feb. 2019 Earlier this year women around the country staged several demonstrations and created the movement #/IBelieveHer following the acquittal of four men accused of raping a woman. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Women in Ireland Are Posting Images of Their Underwear to Protest Rape Culture," 20 Nov. 2018 Demonstrators had gathered in central St Louis for the third night in a row to protest against the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder over the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Residents unhappy with progress on St. Anthony action plan," 21 Apr. 2018 For many, the shooting — and Zimmerman’s eventual acquittal — was an example of the law giving deference to a white man in the shooting of a black boy. German Lopez, Vox, "Florida man who killed black man in parking lot charged with manslaughter," 13 Aug. 2018 One of the most macabre and surprising details was revealed a year after Casey’s stunning 2011 acquittal, when multiple sources told PEOPLE that Casey and her mother, Cindy, had matching necklaces that contained Caylee’s ashes in small vials. Steve Helling,, "Casey Anthony No Longer Wears Her Daughter's Ashes Around Her Neck — But Her Mom Still Does," 4 July 2018 The acquittal and dismissals came before the defense even put on its case. Monique Judge, The Root, "Charges Dropped Against All Durham, NC, Confederate-Statue Protesters," 21 Feb. 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.

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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

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Statistics for acquittal

Last Updated

8 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for acquittal

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

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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 How to pronounce acquittal (audio) \

Kids Definition of acquittal

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


ac·​quit·​tal | \ ə-ˈkwit-ᵊl How to pronounce acquittal (audio) \

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

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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).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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