amnesty

noun
am·​nes·​ty | \ˈam-nə-stē \
plural amnesties

Definition of amnesty 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of an authority (such as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals The government granted amnesty to all political prisoners. a general amnesty

amnesty

verb
amnestied; amnestying

Definition of amnesty (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to grant amnesty to : to pardon (someone) officially often before a trial or conviction Only last Thursday Mr. Clinton told the U.S. that the generals were responsible for the killings … Now, they are to be amnestied and allowed to remain in Haiti if they so wish.— A. M. Rosenthal Traditionally, the incoming president amnesties all outstanding driving offences: during the months before an election people park even more selfishly than usual and drive at unbelievable speeds, knowing if they're caught, they'll be amnestied.— Richard Horton

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Synonyms & Antonyms for amnesty

Synonyms: Noun

absolution, forgiveness, pardon, remission, remittal

Antonyms: Noun

penalty, punishment, retribution

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Examples of amnesty in a Sentence

Noun

The government gave amnesty to all political prisoners. Illegal immigrants who came into the country before 1982 were granted amnesty.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ironically, one of the main reasons the Diversity Lottery was inaugurated was in response to President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty gift to Mexico. Christine M. Flowers, Philly.com, "NYC attacker was here legally. So why are immigrants being politicized yet again? | Christine Flowers," 2 Nov. 2017 If the children are not deported quickly, officials say, many will never leave, eventually becoming a new population of sympathetic young immigrants who seek amnesty to live and work in the U.S. legally. Michael D. Shear, Alaska Dispatch News, "For deal on ‘dreamers,’ White House will demand crackdown on child border crossers," 9 Oct. 2017 Outside the amnesty period, possession of an unregistered firearm carries a fine of up to $280,000 in Australian dollars ($220,000 in U.S. currency) and up to 14 years in jail. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Australian foreign minister offers to share tough gun-law experience with U.S.," 4 Oct. 2017 Nearly nine months into the Trump administration, Obamacare remains intact, tax reform is in doubt, and an amnesty bill for undocumented immigrants who arrived as children is, shockingly, a legislative possibility. Tina Nguyen, vanityfair.com, "Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Wants to “Purge” Congress of the Nonbelievers," 3 Oct. 2017 During the campaign, Trump also spoke frequently against amnesty and said even Dreamers would have to leave the country. Lisa Mascaro, latimes.com, "Trump defends immigration negotiations as some supporters fume," 14 Sep. 2017 They will be confronted by challengers denouncing anyone who supports such legislation as being pro-immigration-amnesty and too unpatriotic to put real Americans first, a Republican strain of identity politics that has been turbocharged by Mr Trump. The Economist, "Donald Trump is right: Congress should pass DACA," 9 Sep. 2017 Ken Dwidjugiasteadi, director general of tax at Indonesia’s finance ministry, said 62 of the 81 people had participated in a recent tax amnesty program in Indonesia. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Indonesia Investigating Standard Chartered Customers Over $1.4 Billion Transfer," 10 Oct. 2017 Huerta was born in Mexico, but her family became citizens as part of the 1986 amnesty act under Reagan. Jason Tesauro, Esquire, "How Houston's Restaurants Rewrote the Playbook on Disaster Relief," 19 Sep. 2017

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

Noun

1580, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1802, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for amnesty

Noun

Greek amnēstia forgetfulness, from amnēstos forgotten, from a- + mnasthai to remember — more at mind

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More Definitions for amnesty

amnesty

noun
am·​nes·​ty | \ˈam-nəs-tē \
plural amnesties

Legal Definition of amnesty 

: an act of clemency by an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted especially to a group of individuals illegal-alien farm workers seeking amnestyNational Law Journal

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