One of the previously described five purified monoglyceride-cleaving carboxylesterases from rat liver microsomes proved to be a carnitine ester hydrolase. This esterase, with an isoelectric point of 5.2, is most active with medium-chain acyl-L-carnitines (C12-C14). The esterase is also remarkably active with 1,3-diglycerides, especially 1,3-dioctanoylglycerol, that are hydrolyzed faster than the corresponding 1-monoglycerides and triglycerides. Only one of the other four purified carboxylesterases has moderate acylcarnitine-hydrolyzing activity. An altered procedure for the separation of the two microsomal acylcarnitine-cleaving enzymes is described. Both enzymes hydrolyze carnitine esters optimally at pH 8 and both are inactive with acetylcarnitine, palmitoyl-CoA, and butyrylthiocholine. The possible natural functions of the hydrolases are discussed. Besides their detoxifying action on natural membrane-lysing detergents (like carnitine esters and lysophospholipids), these enzymes could be involved in the transport of carnitine out of the liver.