apol·​o·​get·​ic | \ ə-ˌpä-lə-ˈje-tik How to pronounce apologetic (audio) \

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 \ ə-​ˌpä-​lə-​ˈje-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce apologetic (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for apologetic

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of apologetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But there are several clues that indicate the apologetic tweet is fabricated. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Fake Biden tweet stereotypes Black, Hispanic Americans," 23 Feb. 2021 Canadians might be known internationally as nice, apologetic and fair-minded. New York Times, "Positive Coronavirus Test? Canadians Worry Their Neighbors Will Find Out," 21 Feb. 2021 Looking into the camera, Michael initially seems apologetic, but then bursts out with a giggle. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "How would Larry David handle Governor Baker’s new ‘companion appointments’?," 12 Feb. 2021 The driver was apologetic and seemingly rather embarrassed, however, Offer said. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "Mulligan? Amazon driver gets stuck in Michigan golf cart tunnel," 10 Nov. 2020 In an almost apologetic speech to the nation, Mr. Conte introduced restrictions that limited movement and closed bars and restaurants from Dec. 24 to Jan. 6. New York Times, "The Virus That Stole Most of 2020 Now Steals Christmas, Too," 23 Dec. 2020 When a sudden downpour drenched New Orleans the day before Thanksgiving, one of the hundreds of volunteers for Jason Williams’ district attorney campaign reached out to his field director, Anna Nguyen, with an apologetic request. Matt Sledge, NOLA.com, "How did Jason Williams win big in New Orleans DA race? A grassroots army, drumbeat of 'change'," 12 Dec. 2020 Yes, send the gift, and yes, accompany it with a humorous — and apologetic — letter. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Male friends keep taking over my grill," 18 Nov. 2020 An apologetic sign on the door of Chef Tony Dim Sum, dated March 17, says it’s closed until further notice. Los Angeles Times, "Life, death and pandemic greet California’s struggling Main Streets," 27 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As an evangelist, Zacharias focused on apologetics, which is the practice of offering answers to the most difficult moral, philosophical, and ethical challenges to his faith. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Christian evangelist and leader Ravi Zacharias dies of cancer," 19 May 2020 Among movies dealing with deeply felt Christian apologetics, Malick’s latest is a companion to A Man for All Seasons, and church groups ought to see it. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Ten Best Films of 2019," 23 Dec. 2019 Lewis’s writings — his fantasy, science fiction, apologetics, and theological essays — were as diverse as his public personae. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "C. S. Lewis: Oxford Don vs. the Devil," 31 Aug. 2019 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

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


borrowed from Late Latin apologēticus "defensive, justifying," borrowed from Greek apologētikós "suitable for defence, offered in defense," from apologē-, variant stem of apologéomai, apologeîsthai "to speak in defense, defend oneself, be an advocate for" (Late Greek, "be an advocate for the Christian faith") (from apo- apo- + -logeomai, -logeisthai, verbal derivative of lógos "word, speech, argument") + -t-, verbal adjective formative + -ikos -ic entry 1 — more at legend


Middle English apologetik, borrowed from Medieval Latin apologēticus or apologēticum, noun derivatives from masculine and neuter of Late Latin apologēticus "defensive, justifying" — more at apologetic entry 1

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Time Traveler for apologetic

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

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Statistics for apologetic

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apologetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologetic. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for apologetic


apol·​o·​get·​ic | \ ə-ˌpä-lə-ˈje-tik How to pronounce apologetic (audio) \

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

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