verb ex·cuse \ik-ˈskyüz, imperatively often ˈskyüz\

: to forgive someone for making a mistake, doing something wrong, etc.,

: to say that (someone) is not required to do something

: to allow (someone, such as a child) to leave


Full Definition of EXCUSE

transitive verb
a :  to make apology for
b :  to try to remove blame from
:  to forgive entirely or disregard as of trivial import :  regard as excusable <graciously excused his tardiness>
a :  to grant exemption or release to <was excused from jury duty>
b :  to allow to leave <excused the class>
:  to serve as excuse for :  justify <nothing can excuse such neglect>
ex·cus·able \ik-ˈskyü-zə-bəl\ adjective
ex·cus·able·ness noun
ex·cus·ably \-blē\ adverb
ex·cus·er noun

Examples of EXCUSE

  1. His boss excused the mistake but told him to be more careful next time.
  2. Please excuse me for not calling sooner.
  3. I was excused from jury duty.
  4. The teacher excused the class from homework that day.
  5. Nothing can excuse that kind of rudeness.
  6. Her father's illness excused her absence.

Origin of EXCUSE

Middle English, from Anglo-French escuser, excuser, from Latin excusare, from ex- + causa cause, explanation
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of EXCUSE

excuse, condone, pardon, forgive mean to exact neither punishment nor redress. excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these <excuse an interruption> <excused them for interrupting>. Often the term implies extenuating circumstances <injustice excuses strong responses>. condone implies that one overlooks without censure behavior (as dishonesty or violence) that involves a serious breach of a moral, ethical, or legal code, and the term may refer to the behavior or to the agent responsible for it <a society that condones alcohol but not narcotics>. pardon implies that one remits a penalty due for an admitted or established offense <pardon a criminal>. forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings <could not forgive their rudeness>.


noun ex·cuse \ik-ˈskyüs\

: a reason that you give to explain a mistake, bad behavior, etc.

excuses : reasons that you give to explain politely why you cannot do something, why you have to leave, etc.

: something (such as a condition or set of conditions) that explains improper behavior and makes it acceptable

Full Definition of EXCUSE

:  the act of excusing
a :  something offered as justification or as grounds for being excused
b plural :  an expression of regret for failure to do something
c :  a note of explanation of an absence

Examples of EXCUSE

  1. What's your excuse for being so late?
  2. She had no valid excuse for not finishing her homework.
  3. He's always making excuses for himself.
  4. I made my excuses and left.
  5. His birthday gives us a good excuse for a party.

First Known Use of EXCUSE

14th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: excuselessPrevious Word in the Dictionary: excusatoryAll Words Near: excuse
May 30, 2015
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