Definition of absolve in English:


Line breaks: ab|solve
Pronunciation: /əbˈzɒlv


[with object]
  • 1Declare (someone) free from guilt, obligation, or punishment: the pardon absolved them of any crimes
    More example sentences
    • Recovering, he is absolved of his guilt by the understanding daughter.
    • At the same time, the right to free speech does not absolve us from our duty to behave responsibly.
    • Zoë, as loving in her death as she was in her life, tried to absolve her family from guilt.
    exonerate, discharge, acquit, exculpate, vindicate; release, relieve, liberate, free, deliver, clear, spare, exempt
    informal let off
    forgive, pardon, excuse, give amnesty to, give dispensation to, give indulgence to; reprieve, have mercy on, show mercy to
  • 1.1(In church use) give absolution for (a sin): she asked the bishop to absolve her sins
    More example sentences
    • In the Roman Catholic Church, it is the sacrament that absolves the sins of an individual through confession.
    • What lay chaplains cannot do is say Mass, anoint the sick, and absolve sin after confession.
    • In the Catholic tradition, absolution from sin is obtained through confession, in which the penitent confesses to a priest who then absolves the sin and administers penitence.


late Middle English: from Latin absolvere 'set free, acquit', from ab- 'from' + solvere 'loosen'.

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