Definitions

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

  • transitive v. Archaic To absolve; pardon.
  • transitive v. Archaic To atone for.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To absolve, acquit; to release from blame or sin.
  • v. To set free, release.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To set free; to release.
  • transitive v. To solve; to clear up.
  • transitive v. To set free from guilt; to absolve.
  • transitive v. To expiate; to atone for.
  • transitive v. To remove; to put off.
  • transitive v. To soil; to stain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To solve; clear up.
  • To release; set free; acquit; pardon; absolve.
  • To remove; dispel.
  • To soil; stain.

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

  • v. pronounce not guilty of criminal charges

Etymologies

Middle English assoilen, from Old French assoldre, assoil-, from Latin absolvere, to set free : ab-, away; see ab-1 + solvere, to loosen; see leu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman assoiler, from the tonic stem of Old French asoldre (modern absoudre), from Latin absolvere, present active infinitive of absolvō ("absolve"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Then said Sir Reginald: But if thou assoil the king and all other standing in the curse, it shall cost thee thy life.

    12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004

  • And these four knights aforesaid came to Canterbury on the Tuesday in Christmas week about Evensong time, and came to S. Thomas and said that the king commanded him to make amends for the wrongs that he had done, and also that he should assoil all them that he had accursed anon, or else they should slay him.

    12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004

  • She had declared that she was incapable of further jealousy — and yet she now told him of daily sin of which her conscience could not assoil itself.

    Phineas Redux

  • God gave his plein power for to bind and to assoil, and therefore they should be obedient to him.

    The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

  • And then he kneeled down on his knee, and prayed the Bishop to shrive him and assoil him.

    Le Morte d'Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the Round table

  • Some things of this nature, especially such as relate unto chronological computations, I acknowledge are attended with great and apparently inextricable difficulties; but the skill and knowledge mentioned will guide humble and modest inquirers into so sufficient a satisfaction in general, and as unto all things which are really useful, that they shall have no temptation to question the verity of what in particular they cannot assoil.

    Pneumatologia

  • But the sense of the word is, to assoil, to acquit, to declare and pronounce righteous upon a trial; which, in this case, the pardon of sin does necessarily accompany.

    The Doctrine of Justification by Faith

  • She is a jolly _compagnon de voyage_, had been thrice to Jerusalem, and is now seeking assoil for some little sins at Canterbury.

    English Literature, Considered as an Interpreter of English History Designed as a Manual of Instruction

  • Then did Sir Lancelot's heart almost burst with sorrow; and when he had finished praying and weeping, he kneeled unto the bishop and prayed him to shrive him and assoil him.

    King Arthur's Knights The Tales Re-told for Boys & Girls

  • And thy great oath, to assoil thee of this charge,

    Hippolytus/The Bacchae

Comments

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  • JM has put his assoil papers in the compost.

    July 31, 2010

  • "Then the good man enjoined Sir Launcelot such penance as he might do and to pursue knighthood, and so assoiled him, and prayed Sir Launcelot to abide with him all that day."
    - Thomas Malory, 'The Holy Grail'.

    September 8, 2009