[ ab-zolv, -solv ]
See synonyms for absolve on Thesaurus.com
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.

  1. to grant pardon for.

  2. Ecclesiastical.

    • to grant or pronounce remission of sins to.

    • to remit (a sin) by absolution.

    • to declare (censure, as excommunication) removed.

Origin of absolve

1525–35; <Latin absolvere, equivalent to ab-ab- + solvere to loosen; see solve

synonym study For absolve

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.

Other words for absolve

Opposites for absolve

Other words from absolve

  • ab·solv·a·ble, adjective
  • ab·sol·vent, adjective, noun
  • ab·solv·er, noun
  • un·ab·solved, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use absolve in a sentence

  • It is both the power that commands and the inward judge that condemns or absolves.

    Elements of Morals | Paul Janet
  • Mrs. Cregan also confesses her part in the plot, and absolves her son from intentional guilt.

British Dictionary definitions for absolve


/ (əbˈzɒlv) /

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

  2. to pronounce not guilty; acquit; pardon

Origin of absolve

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

Derived forms of absolve

  • absolvable, adjective
  • absolver, noun

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