verb (acquits, acquitting, acquitted, acquitted)
Etymology: Old English aquiten, Old French aquiter, French acquitter; (Latin ad) + Old French quiter, French quitter, to quit. See quit, and compare acquiet
- (followed by "of", formerly by "from"): To set free, release or discharge from an obligation, duty, liability, burden, or from an accusation or charge; - as, the jury acquitted the prisoner of the charge; to find not guilty.
- 1775: w:Richard Sheridan, Richard Sheridan, The duenna - His poverty, can you him of that?
- 1837: w:Thomas Babington Macaulay, Thomas Babington Macaulay, "Lord Bacon" in The Edinburgh Review, July 1837 - If he Bacon was convicted, it was because it was impossible to him without offering the grossest outrage to justice and common sense.
- (Obsolete, Rare): To pay for; to atone for
- (RQ:Shakespeare Lucrece), line 1071 - Till life to death my forced offence.
- To discharge, as a claim or debt; to clear off; to pay off; to requite, to fulfill.
- (RQ:Chaucer Troilus II), 1200 - `Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,' quod he;
- 1640: w:Thomas Carew, Thomas Carew, Tasso - Midst foes (as champion of the faith) he ment / That palme or cypress should his painees acquite.
- 1836: w:Edward Everett, Edward Everett, Orations I-382 - I admit it to be not so much the duty as the privilege of an American citizen to this obligation to the memory of his fathers with discretion and generosity.
- 1844: w:Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, "s:Experience, Experience" in Essays: second series - We see young men who owe us a new world, so readily and lavishly they promise, but they never the debt; they die young and dodge the account: or if they live, they lose themselves in the crowd.
- (Reflexively): To clear one's self
- (RQ:Shakespeare Henry 6-2), III-ii - Pray God he may acquit him of suspicion!
- (Reflexively)): To bear or conduct one's self; to perform one's part; as, the soldier acquitted himself well in battle; the orator acquitted himself very poorly.
- 1766: w:Oliver Goldsmith, Oliver Goldsmith, The vicar of Wakefield, xiv - Though this was one of the first mercantile transactions of my life, yet I had no doubt about acquitting myself with reputation.
- (Obsolete): to release, set free, rescue
- (RQ:Spenser Faerie Queene), I-vii-52 - Till I have your captive Knight
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Full Definition of acquit