Amnesty can mean a pardon for a wrongdoing, or it can also signal a government's willingness to overlook something.

Amnesty sounds a little like "amnesia," and that's because in its more specific sense amnesty means "forgetting." The government will essentially forget about whatever crime was committed, or whatever horrible things were said. As part of a truce, amnesty can be granted to opposition forces in civil disputes. Amnesty to illegal aliens means the government will deliberately overlook their illegal entry to the country. There can also be a period of amnesty when people can turn in something that they would otherwise get in trouble for. "The city offered a period of amnesty for everyone to turn in illegal guns."

Definitions of amnesty

n a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense

Type of:
a writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts

n the formal act of liberating someone

free pardon, pardon
Type of:
clemency, mercifulness, mercy
leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice

n a period during which offenders are exempt from punishment

Type of:
exemption, freedom
immunity from an obligation or duty

v grant a pardon to (a group of people)

Type of:
grant a pardon to

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