Pronunciation Verb

acquit (acquits, present participle acquitting; past and past participle acquitted)

  1. (transitive) To declare or find#Verb|find innocent#Adjective|innocent or not guilty.
    Synonyms: absolve, clear, exculpate, exonerate
    Antonyms: condemn, convict
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter VII, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Printed [by Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, OCLC 830979744 ↗, [;view=1up;seq=180 pages 164–165]:
      But I do not pretend that my protestations should acquit me: I rest my innocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts which have been adduced against me; and I hope the character I have always borne will incline my judges to a favourable interpretation, where any circumstance appears doubtful or suspicious.
  2. (transitive) To discharge#Verb|discharge (for example, a claim#Noun|claim or debt); to clear off, to pay off; to fulfil.
    • 1576, George Whetstone, “The Castle of Delight: […]”, in The Rocke of Regard, Diuided into Foure Parts. [...], Imprinted at London: [By H. Middleton] for Robert Waley, OCLC 837515946 ↗; republished in J[ohn] P[ayne] Collier, editor, The Rocke of Regard, Diuided into Foure Parts. [...] (Illustrations of Early English Poetry; vol. 2, no. 2), London: Privately printed, [1867?], OCLC 706027473 ↗, page 48 ↗:
      Although it pleaſed you this other night (occasion by me unhappily miniſtred) to intertaine time with an ordinarie profeſſion of love, yet (maſter Rinaldo) you doe both me and your ſelfe great injurie to continue your needleſſe labour with ſuch importunancie to me. […] Thus muche (being your firſte attempt) I thought it good to anſwere, leaſt you ſhould think with needleſſe niceneſſe I acquited your courteſies.
    • 1642, Edw[ard] Coke, “Statutum de Marlebridge, Editum 52. H. 3. Anno Gratiæ 1267”, in The Second Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England. […], London: Printed by M[iles] Flesher, and R[obert] Young, for E[phraim] D[awson], R[ichard] M[eighen], W[illiam] L[ee] and D[aniel] P[akeman], OCLC 228722563 ↗, chapter IX, page 120 ↗:
      [Et ſi feoffati illi warrantum, vel medium not habeant.] That is to say, if they have neither one to warrant by ſpeciall graunt, nor any meſne by tenure which ought to acquit them, tunc omnes illi feoffati pro portione ſua contribuant, &c.
    • 1844, R[alph] W[aldo] Emerson, “Essay II. Experience.”, in Essays: Second Series, Boston, Mass.: James Munroe and Company, OCLC 191226129 ↗, page 56 ↗:
      We see young men who owe us a new world, so readily and lavishly they promise, but they never acquit the debt; they die young and dodge the account: or if they live, they lose themselves in the crowd.
  3. (transitive) Followed by of (and formerly by from): to discharge, release#Verb|release, or set free from a burden#Noun|burden, duty, liability, or obligation, or from an accusation or charge.
    The jury acquitted the prisoner of the charge.
    • 1813 January 26, [Jane Austen], chapter XII, in Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes, volume II, London: Printed [by George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton, […], OCLC 38659585 ↗, page 154 ↗:
      This, madam, is a faithful narrative of every event in which we have been concerned together; and if you do not absolutely reject it as false, you will, I hope, acquit me henceforth of cruelty towards Mr. Wickham.
  4. (reflexive) To bear#Verb|bear or conduct#Verb|conduct oneself; to perform one's part#Noun|part.
    The soldier acquitted herself well in battle.
    The orator acquitted himself very poorly.
    • 1766 March, [Oliver Goldsmith], “Fresh Mortifications, or a Demonstration that Seeming Calamities may be Real Blessings”, in The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale. Supposed to be Written by Himself, volume I, Salisbury, Wiltshire: Printed by B. Collins, for F[rancis] Newbery, […], OCLC 938500648 ↗, page 132 ↗:
      Though this was one of the firſt mercantile tranſactions of my life, yet I had no doubt about acquitting myſelf with reputation.
  5. (reflexive) To clear#Verb|clear oneself.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii], page 133 ↗, column 2:
      God forbid any Malice ſhould prevail#English|preuayle, / That faultleſſe may condemne a Noble man: / Pray God he may acquit him of ſuſpicion.
  6. (transitive, archaic) Past participle of acquit.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare,  […] [T]he Merrie Wiues of Windsor. […] (First Quarto), London: Printed by T[homas] C[reede] for Arthur Ihonson, […], published 1602, OCLC 670741489 ↗, [Act I, scene iii] ↗:
      Well I am glad I am ſo acquit of this tinder Boy.{{sic
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To release#Verb|release, to rescue#Verb|rescue, to set free.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book I, canto VII, stanza 52, page 104 ↗:
      But be of cheare, and comfort to you take: / For till I haue acquitt your captiue knight, / Aſſure your ſelfe, I will you not forſake.
  8. (transitive, obsolete, rare) To pay#Verb|pay for; to atone for.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, Lvcrece (First Quarto)‎, London: Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, […], OCLC 236076664 ↗:
      For me I am the miſtreſſe of my fate, / And with my treſpaſſe neuer will diſpence, / Till life to death acquit my forced#English|forſt offence.
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  • German: sich halten, sich beweisen
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