[ab-zolv, -solv]
verb (used with object), ab·solved, ab·solv·ing.
  1. to free from guilt or blame or their consequences: The court absolved her of guilt in his death.
  2. to set free or release, as from some duty, obligation, or responsibility (usually followed by from): to be absolved from one's oath.
  3. to grant pardon for.
  4. Ecclesiastical.
    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. 2018

Examples from the Web for absolver

Historical Examples of absolver

  • Shall we say it is all blasphemy; an impious intrusion upon the prerogatives of the One Absolver?

    Sermons Preached at Brighton

    Frederick W. Robertson

  • Church absolution is an eternal protest, in the name of God the Absolver, against the false judgments of society.

    Sermons Preached at Brighton

    Frederick W. Robertson

  • This presumptuous Absolver would make men careless about both.

    Sermons Preached at Brighton

    Frederick W. Robertson

British Dictionary definitions for absolver


verb (tr)
  1. (usually foll by from) to release from blame, sin, punishment, obligation, or responsibility
  2. 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 absolver



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