• synonyms


[ab-suh-loo-shuh n]
See more synonyms for absolution on Thesaurus.com
  1. act of absolving; a freeing from blame or guilt; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties.
  2. state of being absolved.
  3. Roman Catholic Theology.
    1. a remission of sin or of the punishment for sin, made by a priest in the sacrament of penance on the ground of authority received from Christ.
    2. the formula declaring such remission.
  4. Protestant Theology. a declaration or assurance of divine forgiveness to penitent believers, made after confession of sins.
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Origin of absolution

1175–1225; Middle English absolucion < Latin absolūtiōn- (stem of absolūtiō) acquittal. See absolute, -ion
Related formsnon·ab·so·lu·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

forgiveness, mercy, exculpation, pardon, acquittal, release, amnesty, compurgation

Examples from the Web for absolution

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Special assurance of forgiveness is also given in Confession and Absolution.

  • To the priest who gave her absolution she said, "I am dying because I listened to and believed the demon."

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • And as yet I had received no absolution for the mortal offences I had committed at Piacenza.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • After Fra Antonio's brave attempt at absolution, the woman had fainted.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady

  • He burrowed deep, deep, in the hope of my absolution, which would have been of no good to him.

    Lord Jim

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for absolution


  1. the act of absolving or the state of being absolved; release from guilt, obligation, or punishment
  2. Christianity
    1. a formal remission of sin pronounced by a priest in the sacrament of penance
    2. the prescribed form of words granting such a remission
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Derived Formsabsolutory (æbˈsɒljʊtərɪ, -trɪ), adjective

Word Origin

C12: from Latin absolūtiōn- acquittal, forgiveness of sins, from absolvere to absolve
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

Word Origin and History for absolution


"remission, forgiveness," c.1200, from Old French absolucion, earlier assolucion, from Latin absolutionem (nominative absolutio) "completion, acquittal," noun of action from past participle stem of absolvere "to absolve" (see absolve). Originally of sins; in general use from c.1400.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper