acquit

verb
ac·​quit | \ ə-ˈkwit How to pronounce acquit (audio) \
acquitted; acquitting

Definition of acquit

transitive verb

1 : to discharge completely (as from an accusation or obligation) The court acquitted the prisoner.
2 : to conduct (oneself) usually satisfactorily especially under stress The recruits acquitted themselves like veterans.
3a archaic : to pay off (something, such as a claim or debt)
b obsolete : repay, requite

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Other Words from acquit

acquitter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for acquit

Synonyms

Antonyms

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behave, conduct, deport, comport, acquit mean to act or to cause oneself to do something in a certain way. behave may apply to the meeting of a standard of what is proper or decorous. the children behaved in church conduct implies action or behavior that shows the extent of one's power to control or direct oneself. conducted herself with unfailing good humor deport implies behaving so as to show how far one conforms to conventional rules of discipline or propriety. the hero deported himself in accord with the code of chivalry comport suggests conduct measured by what is expected or required of one in a certain class or position. comported themselves as gentlemen acquit applies to action under stress that deserves praise or meets expectations. acquitted herself well in her first assignment

exculpate, absolve, exonerate, acquit, vindicate mean to free from a charge. exculpate implies a clearing from blame or fault often in a matter of small importance. exculpating himself from the charge of overenthusiasm absolve implies a release either from an obligation that binds the conscience or from the consequences of disobeying the law or committing a sin. cannot be absolved of blame exonerate implies a complete clearance from an accusation or charge and from any attendant suspicion of blame or guilt. exonerated by the investigation acquit implies a formal decision in one's favor with respect to a definite charge. voted to acquit the defendant vindicate may refer to things as well as persons that have been subjected to critical attack or imputation of guilt, weakness, or folly, and implies a clearing effected by proving the unfairness of such criticism or blame. her judgment was vindicated

Examples of acquit in a Sentence

The jury acquitted the defendant because there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of the crime. acquitted of the robbery charge after proving he was nowhere near the scene of the crime
Recent Examples on the Web The Senate has been in recess since Saturday afternoon, when Cruz and 44 other Republicans helped to acquit Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Ted Cruz, blistered for Cancun getaway during epic Texas power crisis, calls it ‘obviously a mistake’ in hindsight," 19 Feb. 2021 The Senate has been in recess since Saturday when Cruz was among those who voted to acquit former President Donald Trump of the impeachment charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Steven T. Dennis, Fortune, "Ted Cruz returns to Texas after fleeing to Cancun amid crippling winter storm," 19 Feb. 2021 McConnell eventually voted to acquit Trump on the impeachment charges, but that didn’t stop the former president from issuing a scathing public rebuke of the Senate’s top Republican. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "McConnell has no plans of speaking to Trump again, report reveals," 18 Feb. 2021 Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump in his second impeachment trial — there have only been four in all of U.S. history — claiming Congress can't impeach a president who is not in office. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Editorial: Ron Johnson's whitewash of the U.S. Capitol riot shows why Wisconsin's senior senator has to go," 18 Feb. 2021 Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, voted to acquit Mr. Trump in the impeachment trial but then appeared to encourage people to take their fight to the courts. Annie Karni, New York Times, "N.A.A.C.P. Sues Trump and Giuliani Over Election Fight and Jan. 6 Riot," 16 Feb. 2021 McConnell's decision to acquit Trump leaves the party locked in its struggle to define itself in the post-Trump presidency. Arkansas Online, "GOP's McConnell: Close call but he'll vote to acquit Trump," 14 Feb. 2021 McConnell’s decision to acquit Trump left the party locked in its struggle to define itself in the post-Trump presidency. Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, "Senate GOP leader McConnell, who voted to acquit Trump, says he is still ‘morally responsible’ for Capitol attack," 13 Feb. 2021 After voting to acquit Trump on dubious constitutional grounds, McConnell then delivered a searing Senate speech. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Botched Democratic Effort to Convict Donald Trump," 13 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acquit.' 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 acquit

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for acquit

Middle English aquiten, borrowed from Anglo-French aquiter, from a-, prefix forming transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + -quiter, verbal derivative of quite "free, discharged" — more at quit entry 1

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Time Traveler for acquit

Time Traveler

The first known use of acquit was in the 13th century

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Statistics for acquit

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acquit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquit. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for acquit

acquit

verb

English Language Learners Definition of acquit

: to decide that someone is not guilty of a crime

acquit

verb
ac·​quit | \ ə-ˈkwit How to pronounce acquit (audio) \
acquitted; acquitting

Kids Definition of acquit

1 : to declare innocent of a crime or of wrongdoing
2 : to behave in a certain way You are to acquit yourselves as young ladies and gentlemen.

acquit

verb
ac·​quit | \ ə-ˈkwit How to pronounce acquit (audio) \
acquitted; acquitting

Legal Definition of acquit

transitive verb

: to discharge completely: as
a : to release from liability for a debt or other obligation usually used in agreements forever release, acquit, and discharge each other
b : to absolve (a criminal defendant) of a charge by judicial process
c : to clear of wrongdoing the fact…does not acquit them of misrepresentationIn re Hiller, 694 P.2d 540 (1985)

intransitive verb

: to absolve a defendant of criminal liability must acquit if any reasonable doubt existedCommonwealth v. Gagliardi, 638 N.E.2d 20 (1994) — compare convict

History and Etymology for acquit

Old French acquiter to pay off, absolve, acquit, from a-, prefix marking causation + quite free (of an obligation)

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