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

Synonyms & Antonyms for acquittal



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 After the acquittal of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was tried for killing two people during a Wisconsin protest in 2020, some social media users drew comparisons to another trial in New York. Chiara Vercellone, USA TODAY, 30 Nov. 2021 Wednesday's verdict came just five days after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, who was accused of shooting three men, two of them fatally, during protests last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin. NBC News, 25 Nov. 2021 After the recent acquittal of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, seeing the men who ended Arbery’s life held accountable for their actions feels meaningful. Emma Specter, Vogue, 24 Nov. 2021 The acquittal of Rittenhouse simply highlighted why African Americans felt the whole system was guilty, said Justin Blake, Jacob’s uncle. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2021 Hall was working undercover during protests following the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Black man during a 2011 high-speed chase. Fox News, 23 Nov. 2021 The acquittal of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse highlights twin trends: the rise of armed protest and the strength of self-defense as a legal argument. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Nov. 2021 The acquittal of Rittenhouse has touched off new conversations about racial justice, vigilantism and policing in America. Aamer Madhani, ajc, 20 Nov. 2021 For many Americans, the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on all charges on Friday was a vindication of an innocent, if not heroic, teenager with good intentions. New York Times, 19 Nov. 2021

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

Learn More About acquittal

Time Traveler for acquittal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near acquittal

acquit oneself



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for acquittal

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Acquittal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on acquittal

Nglish: Translation of acquittal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acquittal for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about acquittal


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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