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



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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 The lawyer, for the sake of his reputation and livelihood, needs to win more than an acquittal. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Locking Up the Lincoln Lawyer," 18 Dec. 2020 Such findings are rare here and wouldn’t constitute an acquittal, but could see Minassian sent to a hospital for treatment rather than prison. Washington Post, "A killer on trial for murder is blaming his autism. The autism community is outraged.," 2 Dec. 2020 In 1993, the year after unrest exploded in Los Angeles following the acquittal of four officers captured on video brutally beating Rodney King, Gallup started to collect data on policing. Desiree Stennett,, "Black communities’ distrust of police has deep roots in history," 20 Nov. 2020 Black Lives Matter itself is a technological movement, started by three Black women—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi—over Twitter and Facebook in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Patrice Peck, Wired, "What Writing a Pandemic Newsletter Taught Me About America," 12 Nov. 2020 In his appeal, Taylor argued that a Fayette Circuit Court judge should have granted his request for a direct acquittal. Ayana Archie, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Supreme Court rejects appeal asking for acquittal in Trinity Gay's murder," 30 Oct. 2020 Researchers found this gap has been widening since 2014, the year after the Black Lives Matter movement began in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "Americans' confidence in police falls to historic low, Gallup poll shows," 12 Aug. 2020 In the wake of the 1992 acquittal of police officers who engaged in the savage beating of Rodney King, the riots in Los Angeles marked the first killing of a civilian by the U.S. military since Kent State University 22 years earlier. Anna Mulrine Grobe, The Christian Science Monitor, "Mattis, Esper oppose use of active duty military to fight unrest. Why?," 4 June 2020 Krook's acquittal immediately freed him to return to duty. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Lake Elmo man's family files wrongful-death suit against deputy acquitted of manslaughter," 9 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for acquittal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for acquittal

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acquittal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for acquittal


How to pronounce acquittal (audio)

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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