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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also acquît





From Old English aquiten, Old French aquiter, French acquitter; (Latin ad) + Old French quiter (to quit), French quitter. See quit, and compare acquiet.

EB1911A-pict1.png This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this word, please add it to the page as described here.
Particularly: “chronology”

Alternative spellings

  • acquite (archaic)


  • enPR: ə-kwĭt, IPA: /əˈkwɪt/, SAMPA: /@"kwIt/
  • Rhymes: -ɪt


to acquit

Third person singular

Simple past
acquitted or acquited

Past participle
[[acquitted or acquited]]

Present participle
acquitting or acquiting

to acquit (third-person singular simple present acquits, present participle acquitting or acquiting, simple past and past participle acquitted or acquited)

  1. (followed by “of”, formerly by “from”) To set free, release or discharge from an obligation, duty, liability, burden, or from an accusation or charge, to find not guilty.
    The jury acquitted the prisoner of the charge.
    • 1775, Richard Sheridan, The duenna
      His poverty, can you acquit him of that?
    • 1837, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Lord Bacon” in The Edinburgh Review, July 1837
      If he [Bacon] was convicted, it was because it was impossible to acquit him without offering the grossest outrage to justice and common sense.
  2. (obsolete, rare) To pay for; to atone for
  3. To discharge, as a claim or debt; to clear off; to pay off; to requite, to fulfill.
    • 1482 (earliest extant version), Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde, Book II, 1200
      Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,’ quod he;
    • 1640, Thomas Carew, Tasso
      Midst foes (as champion of the faith) he ment / That palme or cypress should his painees acquite.
    • 1836, Edward Everett, Orations I-382
      I admit it to be not so much the duty as the privilege of an American citizen to acquit this obligation to the memory of his fathers with discretion and generosity.
    • 1844, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience” in Essays: second series
      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.
  4. (reflexive) To clear one’s self.
  5. (reflexive) To bear or conduct one’s self; to perform one’s part.
    The soldier acquitted himself well in battle.
    The orator acquitted himself very poorly.
    • 1766, 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.
  6. (obsolete) To release, set free, rescue.


Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.



  1. (archaic) Past participle of acquit, set free, rid of.


  • acquit in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1914





  1. Third-person singular past historic of acquérir.


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