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

Simple Definition of excuse

  • : 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


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to make apology for b :  to try to remove blame from

  3. 2 :  to forgive entirely or disregard as of trivial import :  regard as excusable <graciously excused his tardiness>

  4. 3 a :  to grant exemption or release to <was excused from jury duty> b :  to allow to leave <excused the class>

  5. 4 :  to serve as excuse for :  justify <nothing can excuse such neglect>

ex·cus·able play \ik-ˈskyü-zə-bəl\ adjective
ex·cus·able·ness noun
ex·cus·ably play \-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\

Simple Definition of excuse

  • : 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

  1. 1 :  the act of excusing

  2. 2 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

  3. 3 :  justification, reason

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.

14th Century

First Known Use of excuse

14th century

Synonym Discussion of excuse

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances <said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could>. apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position <his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy>. excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure <used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting>. plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy <her usual plea that she was nearsighted>. pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation <used any pretext to get out of work>. alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation <his alibi failed to stand scrutiny>.

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February 11, 2016

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