alibi

noun
al·​i·​bi | \ˈa-lə-ˌbī \

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Blount also requested to call his half-brother, Dontae Blount, as his alibi in the case. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Man who murdered Gary cop challenging conviction," 30 May 2018 Witnesses said Killen then went to a Philadelphia funeral home as an alibi while the fatal attack occurred. CBS News, "Edgar Ray Killen, "Mississippi Burnings" Klan leader, dead at 92," 12 Jan. 2018 Syed's team then filed a separate conditional appeal, asking the court to study the alibi question. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland's highest court to weigh in on Syed case," 12 July 2018 Dowdle and his brothers supported the alibi at his trial. Edmund H. Mahony, courant.com, "Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel Wins At Connecticut Supreme Court, Conviction Vacated In 1975 Slaying Of Martha Moxley," 4 May 2018 Grey has one hell of an alibi, being (publicly) a quadriplegic and all. Tom Philip, GQ, "Upgrade Review: Summer's Perfect B-Movie Is Here," 1 June 2018 The court issued a 4-to-3 ruling Friday that Skakel’s trial attorney, Michael Sherman, failed to present evidence of an alibi. Washington Post, "Court orders new trial for Kennedy cousin," 5 May 2018 Specifically, the court concluded that Skakel’s attorney, Michael Sherman, had failed to present evidence of an alibi. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel's Conviction in 1975 Murder of Teen Girl Overturned by Conn. Court," 4 May 2018 But Attorney General Brian Frosh appealed, saying that the Constitution doesn’t — and shouldn’t — require lawyers to pursue every possible alibi that’s brought to them. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland's highest court to weigh in on Syed case," 12 July 2018

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, "'How the Other Half Loves' ingenious and fab at North Coast Rep," 15 Apr. 2018 In 1992, Bill Clinton felt compelled to alibi his youthful encounter with marijuana. Mark Z. Barabak, latimes.com, "Violence! Sex! Defiance! Trump's over-the-top presidency has changed the rules for prospective candidates," 24 Oct. 2017

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.

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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

Latin, elsewhere, from alius other

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Statistics for alibi

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alibi

The first known use of alibi was in 1731

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More Definitions for alibi

alibi

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alibi

: 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

alibi

noun
al·​i·​bi | \ˈa-lə-ˌbī \
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

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