Definitions

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

  • n. The act of absolving or the state of being absolved.
  • n. The formal remission of sin imparted by a priest, as in the sacrament of penance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. this sense?) (obsolete) Delivery, in speech.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An absolving, or setting free from guilt, sin, or penalty; forgiveness of an offense.
  • n. An acquittal, or sentence of a judge declaring and accused person innocent.
  • n. The exercise of priestly jurisdiction in the sacrament of penance, by which Catholics believe the sins of the truly penitent are forgiven.
  • n. An absolving from ecclesiastical penalties, -- for example, excommunication.
  • n. The form of words by which a penitent is absolved.
  • n. Delivery, in speech.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of absolving, or the state of being absolved; release from consequences, obligations, or penalties; specifically, release from the penal consequences of sin.
  • n. According to Roman Catholic theology, a remission of sin, which the priest, on the ground of authority received from Christ, makes in the sacrament of penance (which see). “It is not a mere announcement of the gospel, or a bare declaration that God will pardon the sins of those who repent, but, as the Council of Trent defines it, is a judicial act by which a priest as judge passes a sentence on the penitent.” Cath. Dict.
  • n. According to Prot. theol., a sacerdotal declaration assuring the penitent of divine forgiveness on the ground of his repentance and faith. In the Roman Catholic Church the priest pronounces the absolution in his own name: “I absolve thee.” In Protestant communions that use a form of absolution, and in the Greek Church, it is pronounced in the name of God and as a prayer: “God [or Christ] absolve thee.”
  • n. Abolition; abolishment.
  • n. In civil law, a sentence declaring an accused person to be innocent of the crime laid to his charge.

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

  • n. the condition of being formally forgiven by a priest in the sacrament of penance
  • n. the act of absolving or remitting; formal redemption as pronounced by a priest in the sacrament of penance

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin absolūtiō, acquittal, from absolūtus, past participle of absolvere, to absolve; see absolute.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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