Synonym Chooser

How does the verb absolve differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of absolve are acquit, exculpate, exonerate, and vindicate. While all these words mean "to free from a charge," 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

When might acquit be a better fit than absolve?

While in some cases nearly identical to absolve, acquit implies a formal decision in one's favor with respect to a definite charge.

voted to acquit the defendant

When is exculpate a more appropriate choice than absolve?

The words exculpate and absolve are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, exculpate implies a clearing from blame or fault often in a matter of small importance.

exculpating himself from the charge of overenthusiasm

When could exonerate be used to replace absolve?

Although the words exonerate and absolve have much in common, exonerate implies a complete clearance from an accusation or charge and from any attendant suspicion of blame or guilt.

exonerated by the investigation

When is it sensible to use vindicate instead of absolve?

The meanings of vindicate and absolve largely overlap; however, 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


Thesaurus Entries Near absolve

Cite this Entry

“Absolve.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/absolve. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

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