Webster 1913 Edition
imp. & p. p.
p. pr. & vb. n.
To set free, or release, as from some obligation, debt, or responsibility, or from the consequences of guilt or such ties as it would be sin or guilt to violate; to pronounce free;
absolvea subject from his allegiance; to
absolvean offender, which amounts to an acquittal and remission of his punishment.
absolvedby a majority of fourteen.
To free from a penalty; to pardon; to remit (a sin); – said of the sin or guilt.
In his name I
To finish; to accomplish.
The work begun, how soon
To resolve or explain.
[Obs.]“We shall not absolve the doubt.”
Sir T. Browne.
We speak of a man as absolved from something that binds his conscience, or involves the charge of wrongdoing; as, to absolve from allegiance or from the obligation of an oath, or a promise. We speak of a person as exonerated, when he is released from some burden which had rested upon him; as, to exonerate from suspicion, to exonerate from blame or odium. It implies a purely moral acquittal. We speak of a person as acquitted, when a decision has been made in his favor with reference to a specific charge, either by a jury or by disinterested persons; as, he was acquitted of all participation in the crime.
Webster 1828 Edition
To set free or release from some obligation, debt or responsibility; or from that which subjects a person to a burden or penalty; as to absolve a person from a promise; to absolve an offender, which amounts to an acquittal and remission of his punishment. Hence, in the civil law, the word was used for acquit; and in the canon law, for forgive, or a sentence of
remission. In ordinary language, its sense is to set free or release from an engagement. Formerly, good writers used the word in the sense of finish, accomplish; as to absolve work, in Milton; but in this sense, it seems to be obsolete.