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

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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

Gamble argues that the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy is deeply rooted in English common law, which allowed individuals acquitted by foreign courts to raise their acquittals as a defense in British courts. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Supreme Court Gamble," 5 Dec. 2018 To T&C, Grant described the difficulty of playing a character whose guilt or innocence wasn't clear—despite his acquittal. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "A Very English Scandal," 29 June 2018 But Lugo’s mental health problems factored into his eventual acquittal. Travis Andersen,, "Man acquitted of killing mom now charged with attacking girlfriend," 24 May 2018 He had been acquitted of this charge in normal criminal court, but a special committee of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that Hastings had committed perjury and tampered with evidence in the case to secure his acquittal. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "It works just like impeaching a president.," 27 Sep. 2018 According to The Seattle Times, the artwork is a nod to Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen whose death and the subsequent acquittal of the neighborhood watchman who shot him in 2012 gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "An Art Project Called Black Teen Wearing Hoodie Has Been Repeatedly Destroyed in Seattle," 28 Aug. 2018 To some who believe in the importance of the SEC’s mission against insider trading, Mr. Cuban’s acquittal was an example of jury nullification—jurors simply refusing to enforce the law against a celebrity defendant. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "What Elon Can Learn from Mark Cuban About Fighting the SEC," 24 Aug. 2018 But Ellis would have to tread somewhat more carefully: While acquittals are generally final regardless of prejudicial mistakes by a judge during trial, defense attorneys often cite alleged judicial bias in requesting appeals. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Judge Ellis calls on Mueller team to 'really sharply focus' inquiries, as prosecutors ask witness about emoji," 9 Aug. 2018 Cosby lawyer Tom Mesereau, who won an acquittal in Michael Jackson’s 2005 child molestation case, said the jury will learn ‘‘just how greedy’’ Constand was. Michael R. Sisak,, "Protester charges, gets within feet of Bill Cosby, as retrial begins," 9 Apr. 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

13 Dec 2018

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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 \

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

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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).


a knickknack or trinket

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