[ am-nuh-stee ]
See synonyms for amnesty on
noun,plural am·nes·ties.
  1. a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction.

  2. Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole.

  1. a forgetting or overlooking of any past offense.

verb (used with object),am·nes·tied, am·nes·ty·ing.
  1. to grant amnesty to; pardon.

Origin of amnesty

First recorded in 1570–80; from Middle French amnestie, or directly from Latin amnēstia, from Greek amnēstía “oblivion,” equivalent to ámnēst(os) “forgetting” (from a- negative prefix + mnēs- “remember” + -tos verbal adjective suffix) + -ia noun suffix; see a-6, -y3

synonym study For amnesty

1. See pardon.

Words Nearby amnesty Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use amnesty in a sentence

  • Instead of the expected general amnesty, only a few special pardons were granted.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • Later on he voluntarily presented himself to the military authorities, and obtained pardon under the amnesty proclamation.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • This was nothing less than the Turkish Revolution of 1908, with its consequent amnesty for all political offences.

    The Cradle of Mankind | W.A. Wigram
  • Prince Eugne offered amnesty to the insurgents, and the Austrian ministry advised them to cease resistance.

    The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte | William Milligan Sloane
  • They have issued an amnesty, pardoning even those who have committed the most frightful atrocities upon us.

    A Roving Commission | G. A. Henty

British Dictionary definitions for amnesty


/ (ˈæmnɪstɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. a general pardon, esp for offences against a government

  2. a period during which a law is suspended to allow offenders to admit their crime without fear of prosecution

  1. law a pardon granted by the Crown or Executive and effected by statute

verb-ties, -tying or -tied
  1. (tr) to overlook or forget (an offence)

Origin of amnesty

C16: from Latin amnēstia, from Greek: oblivion, from amnēstos forgetting, from a- 1 + -mnēstos, from mnasthai to remember

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012