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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Absolve


ABSOLVE', verb transitive abzolv', [Latin absolvo, from ab and solvo, to loose or release; to absolve to finish; Heb. to loose or loosen. See Solve.]

To set free or release from some obligation, debt or responsibility; or from that which subjects a person to a burden or penalty; as to absolve a person from a promise; to absolve an offender, which amounts to an acquittal and remission of his punishment. Hence, in the civil law, the word was used for acquit; and in the canon law, for forgive, or a sentence of

remission. In ordinary language, its sense is to set free or release from an engagement. Formerly, good writers used the word in the sense of finish, accomplish; as to absolve work, in Milton; but in this sense, it seems to be obsolete.