Definition of amnesty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈamnɪsti/

noun (plural amnesties)

1An official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offences: an amnesty for political prisoners
More example sentences
  • And this entity should also incorporate human rights into its charter, exclude perpetrators of war crimes from government posts and police forces and grant no amnesties to those convicted of such crimes.
  • They were each sentenced to 29 years in prison but were released in 1992 as part of an amnesty granted to political prisoners, having served only five years of their sentence.
  • Though the corrupt city councilors may get away from the penalty of the law in granting the amnesty, they cannot escape the punishment of the voters in the future.
pardon, pardoning, reprieve;
release, discharge, liberty, freedom;
absolution, forgiveness, dispensation, remission, indulgence, clemency, mercy
informal let-off, letting off
1.1An undertaking by the authorities to take no action against specified offences during a fixed period: a month-long weapons amnesty
More example sentences
  • So if a person takes advantage of the amnesty, other plaintiffs can still sue the person later, though the RIAA cannot.
  • During the month-long amnesty, 95 weapons were dropped off in the first seven days followed by 222 in the second week.
  • A portion of the 500-plus people given advice can expect a phone call from the police in the next couple of weeks after the amnesty's six-month trial period ended.

verb (amnesties, amnestying, amnestied)

[with object]
Grant an official pardon to: the guerrillas would be amnestied and allowed to return to civilian life
More example sentences
  • This was due to the fact that all fighters from ANO were amnestied according to the Framework Agreement of Ochrid.
  • They were opened in the late 1950s and lead to a prison sentence in 1959, which was amnestied in 1964.
  • Noted by the French ambassador in the United States for their moderate behavior and sincere expressions of repentance, all the Grouchys were amnestied in 1819 and returned to France the following year.
pardon, grant an amnesty to, reprieve;
release, discharge, liberate, free;
forgive, excuse, exempt, spare, deliver;
deal leniently with, be lenient on/to, be merciful to, show mercy to, have mercy on
informal let off, let off the hook, go easy on


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek amnēstia 'forgetfulness'.

  • This comes via Latin from Greek amnēstia ‘forgetfulness’ (which shares a root with amnesia (late 18th century)), a meaning found in early use in English.

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Line breaks: am|nesty

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