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See also: acquît



From Middle English aquī̆ten (to give in return; to pay, repay; to redeem (a pledge, security), to make good (a promise); to make amends; to relieve of an obligation; to acquit, clear of a charge; to free; to deprive of; to do one's part, acquit oneself; to act, behave (in a certain way)), from Old French aquiter (to act, do) and Medieval Latin acquitāre (to settle a debt),[1] from ad- (prefix meaning ‘to’) + quitare (to free),[2] equivalent to a- +‎ quit. See quit and compare acquiet.



acquit (third-person singular simple present acquits, present participle acquitting, simple past acquitted, past participle acquitted or (archaic) acquit)

  1. (transitive) To declare or find innocent or not guilty.
    Synonyms: absolve, clear, exculpate, exonerate
    Antonyms: condemn, convict
    • 1619, Samuel Hieron, “[The Back-parts of Iehovah.] The Fourth Sermon.”, in The Sermons of Master Samvel Hieron, [], London: Printed by Iohn Legatt, published 1620, →OCLC, page 188:
      [W]hen God ſaith of himſelfe, that he is one who acquiting will not acquite the wicked, his meaning is, that whatſoeuer may be ſuppoſed becauſe of his patience, yet he will not fully and finally diſcharge thoſe who goe on ſtill in their vngodly courſes, and preſume vpon his Mercy, without repentance.
    • 1628, Phineas Fletcher (falsely attributed to Edmund Spenser), Brittain’s Ida. Written by that Renowned Poët, Edmond Spencer, London: Printed [by Nicholas Okes] for Thomas Walkley, [], →OCLC; republished in Alexander B[alloch] Grosart, editor, The Poems of Phineas Fletcher, B.D., Rector of Hilgay, Norfolk: [] In Four Volumes (The Fuller Worthies’ Library), volume I, [s.l.]: Printed for private circulation, 1869, →OCLC, canto IV, stanza 8, page 72:
      But gently could his passion entertaine, / Though she Love's princesse, he a lowly swaine. / First of his bold intrusion she acquites him, / Then to her service (happy Boy!) admits him, / And, like another Love, with bow and quiver fits him.
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VII, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. [], volume I, London: [] [Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, →OCLC, pages 164–165:
      But I do not pretend that my protestations should acquit me: I rest my innocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts which have been adduced against me; and I hope the character I have always borne will incline my judges to a favourable interpretation, where any circumstance appears doubtful or suspicious.
    • 1837 July, [Thomas Babington Macaulay], “Art. I.—The Works of Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England. A New Edition. By Basil Montagu, Esq. Sixteen Vols. 8vo. London: 1825–1834. [book review]”, in The Edinburgh Review, or Critical Journal, volume LXVI, number CXXXII, Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Company; for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longman, London; and Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh, →OCLC, page 59:
      If he [Francis Bacon] was convicted, it was because it was impossible to acquit him without offering the grossest outrage to justice and common sense.
    • 1856, Mrs. William Busk, “Manfred”, in Mediæval Popes, Emperors, Kings, and Crusaders: Or, Germany, Italy and Palestine, from A.D. 1125 to A.D. 1268, volume IV, London: Hookham and Sons, [], →OCLC, page 294:
      The new accusation brought by Urban [Pope Urban IV] against Manfred of murdering his sister-in-law's embassador—it may be observed that, tacitly, he acquits him of parricide, fratricide, and nepoticide—requires a little explanation.
    • 2009, Jeph Jacques, Questionable Content (webcomic), Number 1457: His First Instinct Upon Waking:
      "You're acquitted, and I'm sorry about the new dent."
  2. (transitive) To discharge (for example, a claim or debt); to clear off, to pay off; to fulfil.
    • 1576, George Whetstone, “The Castle of Delight: []”, in The Rocke of Regard, [], London: [] [H. Middleton] for Robert Waley, →OCLC; republished in J[ohn] P[ayne] Collier, editor, The Rocke of Regard, [] (Illustrations of Early English Poetry; vol. 2, no. 2), London: Privately printed, [1867?], →OCLC, page 48:
      Although it pleaſed you this other night (occasion by me unhappily miniſtred) to intertaine time with an ordinarie profeſſion of love, yet (maſter Rinaldo) you doe both me and your ſelfe great injurie to continue your needleſſe labour with ſuch importunancie to me. [] Thus muche (being your firſte attempt) I thought it good to anſwere, leaſt you ſhould think with needleſſe niceneſſe I acquited your courteſies.
    • 1594, Torquato Tasso, translated by R[ichard] C[arew], Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The Recouerie of Hierusalem: [], London: Imprinted by Iohn Windet for Christopher Hunt of Exceter, →OCLC; quoted in “Art. III. Godfrey of Bulloigne, or the Recouerie of Hierusalem. []”, in [Henry Southern], editor, The Retrospective Review, volume III, part I, London: Charles and Henry Baldwin, [], 1821, →OCLC, page 45:
      Midst foes (as champion of the faith) he ment / That palme or cypress should his paines acquite; []
    • 1642, Edw[ard] Coke, “Statutum de Marlebridge, Editum 52. H. 3. Anno Gratiæ 1267”, in The Second Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England. [], London: [] M[iles] Flesher, and R[obert] Young, for E[phraim] D[awson], R[ichard] M[eighen], W[illiam] L[ee] and D[aniel] P[akeman], →OCLC, chapter IX, page 120:
      [Et ſi feoffati illi warrantum, vel medium not habeant.] That is to say, if they have neither one to warrant by ſpeciall graunt, nor any meſne by tenure which ought to acquit them, tunc omnes illi feoffati pro portione ſua contribuant, &c.
    • 1833 July 4, Edward Everett, An Address Delivered before the Citizens of Worcester on the Fourth of July, 1833, Boston, Mass.: Joseph T[inker] Buckingham, →OCLC, pages 11–12:
      [] I admit it to be not so much the duty as the privilege of an American citizen, to acquit this obligation to the memory of his fathers with discretion and generosity. [] [I]t is not the less true, that there are many ties, which ought to bind our feelings to the land of our fathers. It is characterstic of a magnanimous people to do justice to the merits of every other nation; especially of a nation with whom we have been at variance and are now in amity; and most especially of a nation of common blood.
    • 1844, R[alph] W[aldo] Emerson, “Essay II. Experience.”, in Essays: Second Series, Boston, Mass.: James Munroe and Company, →OCLC, page 56:
      We see young men who owe us a new world, so readily and lavishly they promise, but they never acquit the debt; they die young and dodge the account: or if they live, they lose themselves in the crowd.
  3. (transitive) Followed by of (and formerly by from): to discharge, release, or set free from a burden, duty, liability, or obligation, or from an accusation or charge.
    The jury acquitted the prisoner of the charge.
  4. (reflexive) To bear or conduct oneself; to perform one's part.
    The soldier acquitted herself well in battle.
    The orator acquitted himself very poorly.
  5. (reflexive) To clear oneself.
  6. (transitive, archaic) past participle of acquit.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To release, to rescue, to set free.
  8. (transitive, obsolete, rare) To pay for; to atone for.

Alternative forms[edit]


Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from acquit


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


  1. ^ aquī̆ten, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 8 September 2018.
  2. ^ acquit”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]





  1. third-person singular past historic of acquérir