If I were to say that, in his perilous negotiations with the slavers (transcribed below), Tyrion Lannister had “acquitted” himself, would I be saying that Tyrion had A) repaid or settled a debt or obligation incurred (i.e., the insult of the slaver’s disparaging assumption) or B) conducted himself in a specified manner? Either sense seems plausible, but not both in the instant case.
Prior to my inquiry I was unfamiliar with sense (A). On the few occasions I’ve encountered the usage of “acquit” outside of the legal sense of being found “not guilty,” it has always collocated with “well,” as in the latter sense (B) and the lexicons I’ve consulted fail to specify the conduct. Is it even possible to “acquit oneself” other than adroitly (well)?
Scene: Boss Slaver and his Lieutenant discussing the fate of their captives
Lt. Slaver: (indicating Jorah Mormont) Salt mines?
Boss Slaver: That ... or a galley-slave. He looks strong enough.
Lt. Slaver: What about the dwarf?
Boss Slaver: Worthless. Cut his throat.
Tyrion: Wait. Wait. Wait, wait, wait! Let’s discuss this!
Boss Slaver: And then ... chop off his cock. We’ll sell it for a fortune ... a dwarf’s cock has magic powers.
Tyrion: Wait. Wait. Wait, wait, wait! You can’t just hand a dried cock to a merchant and expect him to pay for it! He has ta know it came from a dwarf! And how could he know, unless he sees the dwarf?
Lt. Slaver: It will be a dwarf-sized cock.
Tyrion: Guess again!
Collins defines "acquit" thusly:
acquit vb (tr):
3. to repay or settle (something, such as a debt or obligation)
4. to perform (one's part); conduct (oneself)
[C13: from Old French aquiter, from quiter to release, free from, quit]
Whereas, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines acquit:
2. To conduct (oneself) in a specified manner: acquitted herself well during the interview.
3. Archaic To release or discharge from an obligation, such as a debt.
4. Obsolete To repay.
[Middle English aquiten, from Old French aquiter: a-, to (from Latin ad-; see quite in Indo-European roots).] Definitions/etymology from TFD
SPOILER ALERT: Tyrion manages to hold on to his genitalia ... so far.