Acquitted is a legal term that is used to describe a situation where a defendant in a criminal case is found not guilty of the charges that have been brought against them. This means that the defendant has been cleared of all accusations, and they cannot be punished for the alleged crime.
The word "acquitted" is not just a mere collection of letters; it holds profound legal significance. If you've ever wondered about its exact meaning, its origins, and how it's used in sentences, you've come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the definition of "acquitted", trace its etymology, explore example sentences, and provide insights into its synonyms and antonyms.
The definition of Acquitted The word "acquitted" is an adjective with a specific legal connotation. According to authoritative sources like Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Language Dictionary, "acquitted" is pronounced as "əˈkwɪt’ed". It denotes that an individual has been formally declared not guilty of a particular crime. In essence, someone who has been acquitted has undergone a trial but has ultimately been found innocent. This could be due to various reasons, including the presence of reasonable doubt that prevents a guilty verdict or a lack of sufficient evidence to support the prosecution's case.
An acquittal can occur when a judge or jury determines that the evidence does not meet the legal threshold required to convict the accused. Some well-known cases of acquittal include the impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the O.J. Simpson case, where all criminal charges against the defendants were dropped. It's important to note that individuals who have been acquitted of a crime are considered exonerated, and due to the double jeopardy rule, they cannot be retried for the same charges.
Moreover, the word "acquit" exists in various other languages, each serving the same purpose of describing a person who has been found not guilty or cleared of their charges in a court of law.
Here are a few translations from different languages:
The Etymology of Acquitted The word "acquitted" has a fascinating etymological history. It finds its origins in the Middle English language, where it was used as a verb, "acquiten". This term dates back to the mid-13th century. Initially, "acquiten" meant to repay, reciprocate, or reward either a good deed or a bad one. It gradually evolved over time.
In the year 1300, "acquiten" came to signify satisfying a debt. This Middle English word has its roots in Old French, specifically "aquiter" or "acquiter". The Old French term meant to settle a claim and has been in use since the 12th century. It also relates to Modern French "acquitter" where "a" is a prefix denoting "to", and "quite" means "free or clear".
The journey doesn't stop there; "acquitter" traces its origins further back to Medieval Latin, where it appeared as "quitus" or "quittus". This, in turn, comes from the Latin "quietus", signifying "free". The Latin word is rooted in the Proto-Indo-European root "kweie", meaning to rest or be quiet. Interestingly, it is linked to Medieval Latin "acquitare", which means to relieve someone of an obligation or duty or to absolve an accused person of charges.
Related words stemming from "acquitted" include "acquit", "acquittal", "acquittance", and "acquitting".
Synonyms and Antonyms for Acquitted Expanding your vocabulary is always beneficial, and knowing synonyms and antonyms for a word is an excellent way to achieve this.
Here are some synonyms for "acquitted", along with antonyms:
Bring to justice
Usage of Acquitted in sentences The term "acquitted" primarily finds its place in legal contexts and discussions surrounding court cases. Here's an example of how it can be used in a sentence:
In this fictional scenario, Mattie and Ellen are discussing a high-profile murder case that has been making headlines in their town.
Mattie: Did you hear what happened in the case? Huge update!
Ellen: No! What happened?! Mattie: He got acquitted. All the charges got dropped. I guess the jury didn't think they had enough evidence or something, but they couldn't come to an agreement, and he's getting off scot-free. Ellen: Wow. That's crazy. I can't believe it. It's so obvious that he did it. Mattie: I feel the same way. And imagine how the victim's parents and family feel, knowing this criminal is walking free with no punishment at all. Ellen: It's truly unbelievable.
In this conversation, Mattie and Ellen use the word "acquitted" to convey that the person who was on trial for murder has been cleared of all charges and is not considered guilty in the eyes of the law.
Conclusion The word "acquitted" carries significant weight in the legal realm, representing the exoneration of an individual who has faced criminal charges. Its roots stretch back through various languages and centuries, revealing an intriguing journey of linguistic evolution.
By understanding its definition, etymology, and usage, you gain a deeper appreciation for the word and its role in legal proceedings and discussions. So, the next time you encounter the word "acquitted" in a legal context, you'll have a clear understanding of its meaning and historical significance.