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Webster 1913 Edition


Absolve

Ab-solve′

(#; 277)
,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Absolved
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Absolving
.]
[L.
absolvere
to set free, to absolve;
ab
+
solvere
to loose. See
Assoil
,
Solve
.]
1.
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;
as, to
absolve
a subject from his allegiance; to
absolve
an offender, which amounts to an acquittal and remission of his punishment.
Halifax was
absolved
by a majority of fourteen.
Macaulay.
2.
To free from a penalty; to pardon; to remit (a sin); – said of the sin or guilt.
In his name I
absolve
your perjury.
Gibbon.
3.
To finish; to accomplish.
[Obs.]
The work begun, how soon
absolved
.
Milton.
4.
To resolve or explain.
[Obs.]
“We shall not absolve the doubt.”
Sir T. Browne.
Syn. – To
Absolve
,
Exonerate
,
Acquit
.
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


Absolve

ABSOLVE'

,
Verb.
T.
abzolv', [L. absolvo, from ab and solvo, to loose or release; to absolve, to finish; Heb. to loose or loosen. See Solve.]
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.

Definition 2023


absolve

absolve

See also: absolvé

English

Verb

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.
    • 1855, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume III:
      Halifax was absolved by a majority of fourteen.
  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]
    • 1807, w:Alexander Pope, The Odyssey by Homer (English translation):
      Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls.
  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]
    • 1782, Edward Gibbon, History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, volume VI:
      In his name I absolve your perjury and sanctify your arms.
  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

  • (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.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 9

Latin

Verb

absolve

  1. second-person singular present active imperative of absolvō

Portuguese

Verb

absolve

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