apol·​o·​get·​ic | \ə-ˌpä-lə-ˈje-tik \

Definition of apologetic 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : feeling or showing regret : regretfully acknowledging fault or failure : expressing an apology They were apologetic about the error. We received an apologetic letter. an apologetic smile/tone

2 : offered in defense or vindication the apologetic writings of the early Christians



Definition of apologetic (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from apologetic


apologetically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for apologetic

Synonyms: Adjective

compunctious, contrite, penitent, regretful, remorseful, repentant, rueful, sorry

Antonyms: Adjective

impenitent, remorseless, unapologetic, unrepentant

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Examples of apologetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On a day when so many players complained about the course that the USGA held an apologetic press conference, Johnson’s camp acknowledged the conditions. Stephanie Apstein, SI.com, "Dustin Johnson Slips Into Four-Way Tie for U.S. Open Lead After Turbulent Third Round," 16 June 2018 The servers were, however, both apologetic about the hitches and knowledgeable about the dishes. Kate Washington, sacbee, "It’s good to be back: Celestin’s revives its particular brand of gumbo and grace," 22 June 2018 Chase has been very apologetic and helpful during the ordeal. Teresa Dixon Murray, cleveland.com, "Chase tries to repossess Medina man's car, but repo guy has the wrong person: Money Matters," 4 Mar. 2018 By the time Ivan Rakitic rolled in a third with almost apologetic ease, Croatia was rampant. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Croatia Meeting Its World Cup Potential As Chronic Chaos Subsides," 22 June 2018 However, on the final day of the draft, an apologetic McLeod called Steiner to say circumstances likely would force the Cubs to go in another direction with the final pick. Dan Shalin, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs honor late filmmaker by drafting his son: 'It's something that will stick with me forever'," 21 June 2018 Americans are apologetic about his behavior, while Canadians and international visitors offer up scathing critiques. Christopher Muther, BostonGlobe.com, "This summer, there will be no vacation from Trump talk," 18 June 2018 Government statisticians often blame that hard-to-control trend for the labor-participation dip, but less apologetic researchers also note the government’s overgenerosity in granting disability insurance. George Melloan, WSJ, "Social Security Needs Immigrants," 14 June 2018 Of course, this is around the time that Pack probably got really apologetic. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Utah Mechanic Recorded Berating Spanish-Speaking Family and Taking All Their Money," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That is an apologetics for white supremacy, an ideology with a long legacy of violence. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "How Social-Media Trolls Turned U.C. Berkeley Into a Free-Speech Circus," 23 May 2016 The Trump Internet made a few early attempts at photo apologetics. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "The Trump Internet’s search for a G-7 photo that makes him look good," 10 June 2018 Aspiring pastoral candidates were inspired by his capacity to teach systematic theology and apologetics, the defense of the Christian faith. Russell Pulliam, Washington Post, "Theologian R.C. Sproul, who influenced evangelical beliefs about the Bible, dies at 78," 15 Dec. 2017 Outlets such as the Washington Post and CNN published fawning apologetics and romanticized profiles of the far left’s vigilante thugs. David French, National Review, "Antifa Just Showed Its True Colors. Again.," 28 Aug. 2017 Many of its students are pastors who want to get more education in Christian apologetics, or defending the faith using history, reason, evidence and philosophy. Tim Funk, charlotteobserver, "With more students streaming classes online, school plans to sell campus and find smaller facility," 29 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apologetic.' 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 apologetic


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apologetic


Greek apologētikos, from apologeisthai to defend, from apo- + logos speech


see apologetic entry 1

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Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

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The first known use of apologetic was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for apologetic



English Language Learners Definition of apologetic

: feeling or showing regret : expressing an apology


apol·​o·​get·​ic | \ə-ˌpä-lə-ˈje-tik \

Kids Definition of apologetic

: sorry for having done or said something wrong They were apologetic about their rude behavior.

Other Words from apologetic

apologetically \ -​ti-​kə-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on apologetic

What made you want to look up apologetic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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