Absolve – Definition & Meaning

Absolve is a term that is often used in legal and religious contexts. It is a word that carries a lot of weight and can have significant consequences depending on how it is used. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of absolve, its origins, and its various associations.


Absolve is a verb that means to declare someone free from guilt, blame, or responsibility for a wrongdoing. It can also mean to release someone from an obligation or promise. In some religious contexts, absolve refers to the act of forgiving sins.


The word absolve comes from the Latin word “absolvere,” which means to free or release. The word has been in use since the 14th century and has been used in various contexts throughout history.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, absolve means “to set free from an obligation or the consequences of guilt.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “to declare free from guilt or blame.”


Absolve is often associated with the legal system, where it is used to describe a judge or jury’s decision to declare a defendant innocent of a crime. It is also commonly used in religious contexts, where it refers to the act of forgiving sins and releasing someone from the consequences of their actions.


Some synonyms for absolve include acquit, exonerate, pardon, forgive, and release.


Antonyms for absolve include condemn, blame, accuse, and convict.

The same root words

Some words that share the same root as absolve include solve, resolve, and dissolve. These words all have the Latin word “solvere” in common, which means to loosen or release.

Example Sentences

  1. The judge absolved the defendant of all charges due to lack of evidence.
  2. The priest absolved the penitent of their sins during confession.
  3. The company absolved the employee of any wrongdoing in the incident.
  4. The teacher absolved the student of the missed assignment due to a family emergency.
  5. The therapist helped the patient absolve themselves of guilt and shame from past traumas.
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