Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A general pardon granted by a government, especially for political offenses.
  • transitive v. To grant a general pardon to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Forgetfulness; cessation of remembrance of wrong; oblivion.
  • n. An act of the sovereign power granting oblivion, or a general pardon, for a past offense, as to subjects concerned in an insurrection.
  • v. To grant a pardon (to a group)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Forgetfulness; cessation of remembrance of wrong; oblivion.
  • n. An act of the sovereign power granting oblivion, or a general pardon, for a past offense, as to subjects concerned in an insurrection.
  • transitive v. To grant amnesty to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • pret. and pp. amnestied, ppr. amnestying. [⟨ amnesty, n.] To grant an amnesty to; pardon.
  • n. A forgetting or overlooking; an act of oblivion; specifically, a general pardon or conditional offer of pardon of offenses or of a class of offenses against a government, or the proclamation of such pardon.
  • n. Synonyms Absolution, etc. See pardon, n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
  • n. the formal act of liberating someone
  • n. a period during which offenders are exempt from punishment
  • v. grant a pardon to (a group of people)

Etymologies

Latin amnēstia, from Greek amnēstiā; see amnesia.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French amnestie (French amnistie), from Latin amnestia, from Ancient Greek ἀμνηστία, from ἀ- ("privative") + μνήμη (remembrance, reminiscence). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Is that still where the line is drawn on the term amnesty or are there shades of gray?

    Arizona, Washington, and the Failure of Comprehensive Legislation | RedState

  • The term amnesty comes from the 1986 immigration bill, supported and signed by Ronald Reagan, which gave many illegal immigrants in the United States immediate permanent residency — green cards — with few requirements, a tiny fee and a fast-tracked application process.

    America's New Know-Nothings

  • M. O'BRIEN: I think we should note that the term amnesty was not used in that question.

    CNN Transcript Apr 25, 2006

  • In particular, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann have hurled at Mr. Gingrich the word "amnesty" - an inflammatory one in this context - during a debate on Tuesday, as if he had proposed a sweeping forgiveness of all illegal immigrants.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Fear of the label "amnesty" for this kind of legislation is an unacceptable excuse for inaction by Congress especially when the future of America's youth is at stake.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • Fear of the label "amnesty" for this kind of legislation is an unacceptable excuse for inaction by Congress - especially when the future of America's youth is at stake.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • Falana in an interview after the sitting which journalists were allowed to cover for the first time, described Okah's release as a welcome development but defended his stance in opposing the term amnesty, reaffirming that what the constitution recognises was pardon or prerogative of mercy and not amnesty.

    AllAfrica News: Latest

  • The cross-party committee regards what it describes as an "amnesty policy", alongside renewed delays to the much heralded e-borders system to count people in and out of the country, as further evidence that the agency is still not proving effective.

    160,000 asylum seekers granted amnesty by the backdoor, say MPs

  • Whenever the issue of immigration comes up, the Republican response to anything Democrats do is always the word 'amnesty.'

    Chris Weigant: Friday Talking Points -- Phony Vacation Outrage

  • But I do agree with a plan for legalization, as you know, what you call amnesty and I call legalization, Lou.

    CNN Transcript Feb 4, 2008

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