early 15c., "release" (from an oath or obligation), from Latin absolvere "set free," especially judicially, "acquit" (source also of Old French assoldre (11c.), Modern French absoudre), from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + solvere "to loosen, untie, release, remove," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart." In modern use, "set free from consequences or penalties of actions." Related: Absolved; absolving.
updated on October 13, 2021