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

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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 If the case went to trial, federal prosecutors threatened to introduce audio and video evidence in which Cincinelli was allegedly overheard discussing the murder-for-hire plot and an alibi. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, "Former NYPD police officer pleads guilty to obstruction in alleged murder-for-hire scheme," 18 Apr. 2021 Having an alibi does not absolve one of responsibility. Christopher R. Wilder, Forbes, "IT & Security Operations Teams Must Be Ready For 2021 And Beyond," 15 Apr. 2021 In nearly every instance, the least likely suspect, anyone with an unassailable alibi or the person with no apparent motive would turn out be the ruthless killer. Washington Post, "Who is the greatest fictional detective? A new book reminds us why it’s Poirot.," 14 Apr. 2021 Another interviewing technique taps spatial memory by asking suspects and witnesses to sketch a scene related to a crime or alibi. Jessica Seigel, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why You Can’t Spot a Liar Just By Looking," 30 Mar. 2021 Puckett was arrested, prosecuted and convicted in March 2002 despite having an alibi for the crime that the jury never heard. Raheem Hosseini, San Francisco Chronicle, "He was unjustly imprisoned for 19 years. Now he's getting almost $1 million from the state of California," 19 Mar. 2021 The defense called nine witnesses to support his alibi. NBC News, "Is Temujin Kensu a 'ninja killer' or wrongfully convicted man?," 21 Mar. 2021 Hertz located the receipt that proved his alibi in 2018. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Man sues Hertz over lost receipt that overturned his murder conviction after five years in prison," 13 Mar. 2021 More than a dozen witnesses, White and Black, confirmed his alibi. Washington Post, "The lynching that Black Chattanooga never forgot takes center stage downtown," 11 Mar. 2021 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 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

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

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Statistics for alibi

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alibi.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alibi. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alibi

Nglish: Translation of alibi for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alibi for Arabic Speakers

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