alibi

noun
al·​i·​bi | \ ˈa-lə-ˌbī How to pronounce alibi (audio) \

Definition of alibi

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the plea of having been at the time of the commission of an act elsewhere than at the place of commission His alibi was that he was at the movies at the time of the crime. also : the fact or state of having been elsewhere at the time
2 : an excuse usually intended to avert blame or punishment (as for failure or negligence) made up an alibi for why she missed the meeting
3 : someone or something that provides a person with an alibi His wife was his alibi.

alibi

verb
alibied; alibiing

Definition of alibi (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to exonerate (someone) by an alibi : to furnish an excuse for … took statements from anyone not alibied.— Joseph Wambaugh

intransitive verb

: to offer an excuse

Choose the Right Synonym for alibi

Noun

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

Did you know?

In Latin, alibi was an adverb that meant “elsewhere.” When the word was first adopted into English in the 18th century, it was still limited to its adverbial use. A person on trial might be said to prove himself alibi when the crime was committed. By the end of that century, however, alibi had acquired the status of a noun and was used in legal contexts for “the plea of having been elsewhere at the time of the crime.” The meaning of the word was then extended to apply to the fact or state of having been elsewhere when a crime was committed.

Examples of alibi in a Sentence

Noun Nobody could confirm his alibi that he was at the movies. Her doctor is her alibi: she was in surgery at the time of the murder. She made up an alibi for why she missed the meeting.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This — and his having no alibi — raised suspicions, and Zdorov was arrested. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 After all, Taylor, then 17, had what seemed the best imaginable alibi: When Jeffrey Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook were shot to death on Nov. 16, 1992, in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, Taylor was behind bars in a nearby police lockup. Steve Mills, ProPublica, 30 May 2022 His defense team in the second trial had again raised the golf range alibi, but Colucci was not among the witnesses who testified, records show. Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 13 May 2022 But Shelton had an alibi for the night of the shooting. Emma Steele, CBS News, 6 May 2022 After Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting found issues with the alibi of a previous suspect, lawyers representing Dennis Perry, the man convicted of the double murder, decided to conduct a DNA test. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, 21 Jan. 2022 Meanwhile, Aileen lies to the police about Brian’s whereabouts on the night in question, her natural maternal protective instinct being to provide an alibi. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2022 Investigators also interviewed a living witness who backed up an alibi for Aziz. Peniel E. Joseph, CNN, 18 Nov. 2021 Smith’s talent was an alibi, not merely for himself but for the judge who suspended his sentence and for Buckley and Wilkins, who suspended their doubts to help his cause. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When faced with having to alibi to their spouses, Fiona and Bob, unbeknown to each other, involve a young couple, William and Mary Featherstone (Benjamin Cole and Noelle Marion). David Coddon, sandiegouniontribune.com, 15 Apr. 2018 When faced with having to alibi to their spouses, Fiona and Bob, unbeknown to each other, involve a young couple, William and Mary Featherstone (Benjamin Cole and Noelle Marion). David Coddon, sandiegouniontribune.com, 15 Apr. 2018 In 1992, Bill Clinton felt compelled to alibi his youthful encounter with marijuana. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, 24 Oct. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alibi.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of alibi

Noun

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1909, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for alibi

Noun

borrowed from Latin alibī "in another place, elsewhere," from alius "other" + -bī, locative suffix (as also in ibi, ibī "in that place, there," ubi, ubī "where?"), going back to Indo-European *-dhe (also in Oscan puf "where?," Umbrian pufe, Old Church Slavic kŭde, Sanskrit kúha, all going back to *kwu-dhe) + a particle *-i — more at else

Verb

derivative of alibi entry 1

Learn More About alibi

Statistics for alibi

Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alibi.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alibi. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for alibi

alibi

noun
al·​i·​bi | \ ˈa-lə-ˌbī How to pronounce alibi (audio) \
plural alibis

Kids Definition of alibi

1 : the explanation given by a person accused of a crime that he or she was somewhere else when the crime was committed
2 : an excuse intended to avoid blame She made up an alibi for why she was late.

alibi

noun
al·​i·​bi

Legal Definition of alibi

: a defense of having been somewhere other than at the scene of a crime at the time the crime was committed also : the fact or state of having been elsewhere at the time a crime was committed

Note: Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.1 requires the defendant to provide notice upon written demand of an intention to offer a defense of alibi. The prosecution must provide to the defendant the names of witnesses that will be used to rebut it.

History and Etymology for alibi

Latin, elsewhere, from alius other

More from Merriam-Webster on alibi

Nglish: Translation of alibi for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alibi for Arabic Speakers

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