verb (used with object), ac·quit·ted, ac·quit·ting.

  1. to relieve from a charge of fault or crime; declare not guilty: They acquitted him of the crime. The jury acquitted her, but I still think she’s guilty.
  2. to release or discharge (a person) from an obligation.
  3. to settle or satisfy (a debt, obligation, claim, etc.).
  4. to bear or conduct (oneself); behave: He acquitted himself well in battle.
  5. to free or clear (oneself): He acquitted himself of suspicion.

verb -quits, -quitting or -quitted (tr)

  1. (foll by of)
    1. to free or release (from a charge of crime)
    2. to pronounce not guilty
  2. (foll by of) to free or relieve (from an obligation, duty, responsibility, etc)
  3. to repay or settle (something, such as a debt or obligation)
  4. to perform (one’s part); conduct (oneself)

“freed, exonerated,” 1670s, past participle adjective from acquit (v.). Formerly in this sense was acquit (late 14c.), perhaps on analogy of pps. such as hit.


early 13c., “to satisfy a debt” (either for oneself or on behalf of another), from Old French aquiter “pay, pay up, settle a claim” (12c.), from à “to” (see ad-) + quite “free, clear” (see quit (adj.)). Meanings “set free from charges” and “to discharge one’s duty” both recorded from late 14c. Related: Acquitted; acquitting.

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