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See also: absolvé



First attested in the early 15th century. From Middle English absolven, from Latin absolvere, present active infinitive of absolvō (set free, acquit), from ab (away from) + solvō (loosen, free, release). Doublet of assoil.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əbˈzɒlv/
  • (US) IPA(key): /æbˈzɑlv/, /æbˈsɑlv/, /əbˈzɑlv/, /əbˈsɑlv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒlv, -ɑlv


absolve (third-person singular simple present absolves, present participle absolving, simple past and past participle absolved)

  1. (transitive) To set free, release or discharge (from obligations, debts, responsibility etc.). [First attested around 1350 to 1470.][1]
    You will absolve a subject from his allegiance.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To resolve; to explain; to solve. [Attested from the late 15th century until the mid 17th century.][1]
  3. (transitive) To pronounce free from or give absolution for a penalty, blame, or guilt. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][1]
  4. (transitive, law) To pronounce not guilty; to grant a pardon for. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][1]
  5. (transitive, theology) To grant a remission of sin; to give absolution to. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][1]
  6. (transitive, theology) To remit a sin; to give absolution for a sin. [First attested in the late 16th century.][1]
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To finish; to accomplish. [Attested from the late 16th century until the early 19th century.][1]
  8. (transitive) To pass a course or test; to gain credit for a class; to qualify academically.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (to set free, release from obligations): Normally followed by the word from.
  • (to pronounce free from; give absolution for blame): Normally followed by the word from.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “absolve”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 9.




  1. second-person singular present active imperative of absolvō




  1. inflection of absolver:
    1. third-person singular present indicative
    2. second-person singular imperative