[ab-zolv, -solv]

verb (used with object), ab·solved, ab·solv·ing.

to free from guilt or blame or their consequences: The court absolved her of guilt in his death.
to set free or release, as from some duty, obligation, or responsibility (usually followed by from): to be absolved from one's oath.
to grant pardon for.
  1. to grant or pronounce remission of sins to.
  2. to remit (a sin) by absolution.
  3. to declare (censure, as excommunication) removed.

Origin of absolve

1525–35; < Latin absolvere, equivalent to ab- ab- + solvere to loosen; see solve
Related formsab·solv·a·ble, adjectiveab·sol·vent, adjective, nounab·solv·er, nounun·ab·solved, adjective

Synonyms for absolve

Synonym study

1. Absolve, acquit, exonerate all mean to free from blame. Absolve is a general word for this idea. To acquit is to release from a specific and usually formal accusation: The court must acquit the accused if there is not enough evidence of guilt. To exonerate is to consider a person clear of blame or consequences for an act (even when the act is admitted), or to justify the person for having done it: to be exonerated for a crime committed in self-defense.

Antonyms for absolve

1. blame.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for absolve

Contemporary Examples of absolve

Historical Examples of absolve

  • Were I to be queen of the universe, that dignity should not absolve me from my duty to you and to my father.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • That would be to absolve him from living, since it is life itself that is the burden.

    Pax Vobiscum

    Henry Drummond

  • There is no suggestion here that religion will absolve any man from bearing burdens.

    Pax Vobiscum

    Henry Drummond

  • But I may also neglect this reflex standard and absolve me to myself.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

British Dictionary definitions for absolve


verb (tr)

(usually foll by from) to release from blame, sin, punishment, obligation, or responsibility
to pronounce not guilty; acquit; pardon
Derived Formsabsolvable, adjectiveabsolver, noun

Word Origin for absolve

C15: from Latin absolvere to free from, from ab- 1 + solvere to make loose
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 absolve

early 15c., from Latin absolvere "set free, loosen, acquit," from ab- "from" (see ab-) + solvere "loosen" (see solve). Related: Absolved; absolving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper