First attested in the early 15th Century. From Middle English absolven, from Latin absolvere, present active infinitive of absolvō (“set free, acquit”), from ab (“away from”) + solvō (“loosen, free, release”).
- (UK) IPA(key): /əbˈzɒlv/
- (US) IPA(key): /æbˈzɑlv/, /æbˈsɑlv/, /əbˈzɑlv/, /əbˈsɑlv/
Audio (US) (file)
- (transitive) To set free, release or discharge (from obligations, debts, responsibility etc.). [First attested around 1350 to 1470.]
- You will absolve a subject from his allegiance.
1855, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume III:
- Halifax was absolved by a majority of fourteen.
- (transitive, obsolete) To resolve; to explain; to solve. [Attested from the late 15th century until the mid 17th century.]
- (transitive) To pronounce free from or give absolution for a penalty, blame, or guilt. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
- (transitive, law) To pronounce not guilty; to grant a pardon for. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
1807, w:Alexander Pope, The Odyssey by Homer (English translation):
- Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls.
- (transitive, theology) To grant a remission of sin; to give absolution to. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
1597, w:William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 5:
- To make confession and to be absolved.
- (transitive, theology) To remit a sin; to give absolution for a sin. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
1782, Edward Gibbon, History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, volume VI:
- In his name I absolve your perjury and sanctify your arms.
- (transitive, obsolete) To finish; to accomplish. [Attested from the late 16th century until the early 19th century.]
- (transitive) To pass a course or test; to gain credit for a class; to qualify academically.
- (to set free, release from obligations): Normally followed by the word from.
- (to pronounce free from; give absolution for blame): Normally followed by the word from.
- (set free): excuse, exempt, free, release
- (pronounce free or give absolution): acquit, exculpate, exonerate, pardon, remit, vindicate
- (theology: to pronounce free or give absolution from sin): remit
to set free
obsolete: to resolve or explain
to pronounce free or give absolution
law: to pronounce not guilty; to grant a pardon for
theology: to pronounce free or give absolution from sin
obsolete: to finish, accomplish
to pass a course or test; to gain credit for a class; to qualify academically
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Translations to be checked
- Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 , ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 9