(1st century AD) the Roman governor of Judaea, a former country in the area that is now Palestine, at the time when Jesus Christ was judged and killed. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Pilate offered to let Jesus go free, but the local leaders would not accept this. Pilate then washed his hands and said he was not to blame for Jesus's death. People mention Pilate, or talk about someone "washing their hands of" a problem, when they are talking about someone who is not morally strong enough to do what they think is right.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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