Definition of alibi
- His alibi was that he was at the movies at the time of the crime.
- made up an alibi for why she missed the meeting
- His wife was his alibi.
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.
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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.
First Known Use: 1731See Words from the same year
: a claim that you cannot be guilty of a crime because you were somewhere else when the crime was committed; also : evidence which shows that such a claim is true
: an excuse for not being somewhere or doing something
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