From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:
1. To set free, or release, as from some obligation, debt, or responsibility, or from the consequences of guilt or such ties as it would be sin or guilt to violate; to pronounce free; as, to absolve a subject from his allegiance; to absolve an offender, which amounts to an acquittal and remission of his punishment.
Usage: We speak of a man as absolved from something that binds his conscience, or involves the charge of wrongdoing; as, to absolve from allegiance or from the obligation of an oath, or a promise. We speak of a person as exonerated, when he is released from some burden which had rested upon him; as, to exonerate from suspicion, to exonerate from blame or odium. It implies a purely moral acquittal. We speak of a person as acquitted, when a decision has been made in his favor with reference to a specific charge, either by a jury or by disinterested persons; as, he was acquitted of all participation in the crime.
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
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