See more synonyms for acquittal on
  1. the act of acquitting; discharge.
  2. the state of being acquitted; release.
  3. the discharge or settlement of a debt, obligation, etc.
  4. Law. judicial deliverance from a criminal charge on a verdict or finding of not guilty.

Origin of acquittal

1400–50; late Middle English a(c)quitaille < Anglo-French; see acquit, -al2
Related formsnon·ac·quit·tal, nounpre·ac·quit·tal, nounpro·ac·quit·tal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for acquittal


  1. criminal law the deliverance and release of a person appearing before a court on a charge of crime, as by a finding of not guilty
  2. a discharge or release from an obligation, duty, debt, etc
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 acquittal

early 15c., "payment of debt or retribution;" see acquit + -al (2). Sense of "a release from debt or obligation" is from mid-15c.; that of "freeing from charge or offense" (by legal process) is from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

acquittal in Culture


The judgment of a court that a person charged with a crime is not guilty.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.