: 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
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
Or, when Congress granted amnesty en masse to some former Confederates in 1867 who'd already won elections but not yet been seated.—Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 6 Feb. 2024 But how can they be considered credible if American leaders continue to grant TikTok amnesty?—Jimmy Byrn, National Review, 2 Feb. 2024 Then of course, the left will agitate to give these long term residents amnesty (many end up marrying, having kids, etc..).—Henry Olsen, National Review, 19 Jan. 2024 Travis Reed wonders if the spirit of reconciliation of 1872, which conferred amnesty on Confederate rebels, can be resurrected for 2023, presumably to forgive Donald Trump’s insurrectionist transgression (Letters, Dec. 29).—WSJ, 2 Jan. 2024 The provision was used to bar a wide range of ex-Confederates from positions ranging from local sheriff to Congress, but fell into disuse after an 1872 congressional amnesty for most former Confederates.—TIME, 29 Dec. 2023 There are, of course, war criminals who need to be held accountable; my colleagues and I are not calling for amnesty all around.—Aleksei Miniailo, Foreign Affairs, 28 Dec. 2023 Relatedly, the United States and Europe may want to offer amnesty to Russians who have participated in minor regime crimes in exchange for a willingness to oppose Putin and make Russia return to a path of peace and cooperation.—Aleksei Miniailo, Foreign Affairs, 28 Dec. 2023 The amnesty bill passed, without civil-rights guarantees.—Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2023
In 1986, a Republican president—Ronald Reagan—signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act, amnestying undocumented people, expanding guest worker programs, securing the border, and enhancing requirements for employers.—TIME, 9 Jan. 2024 People on my side of the aisle are focused on there’s a huge immigration bill tucked into this reconciliation bill that would amnesty about eight million people and no one's talking about it.—NBC News, 19 Sep. 2021 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amnesty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
borrowed from Latin amnēstia, borrowed from Greek amnēstía "forgetfulness, oblivion, deliberate overlooking of past offenses," from amnēstós "forgotten, forgetful" (from a-a- entry 2 + mnēstós "memorable," verbal adjective of mnáomai, mnâsthai "to be mindful of" and mimnḗskomai, mimnḗskesthai "to call to mind, remember") + -ia-y entry 2 — more at mind entry 1