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)

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 Ryan, who doesn’t recall Keith at all, is abashed and apologetic. Charles Isherwood, WSJ, 4 May 2022 Its feed is full of videos of despondent, apologetic and sometimes bloodied Russians who are allegedly prisoners of war, which some experts have argued violates the Geneva Conventions. NBC News, 5 Mar. 2022 My default mode is being a little apologetic and a bit of a people pleaser, and Phil is as far away from that as possible. EW.com, 19 Jan. 2022 Still, the apologetic man finds a way to help them all. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Feb. 2022 Before Sabracos knew what was happening, the staffer had whipped out her cell phone and Sabracos was chatting onscreen with an apologetic Adele. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, 25 Jan. 2022 An apologetic Penny Hardaway took to Instagram late Friday. Jason Munz, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2022 His soldiers had opened fire on her family’s car, yet the officer was apologetic as the soldiers gave them first aid. NBC News, 12 Mar. 2022 For the last week and a half of conflict, fashion has been almost apologetic about its own existence; about daring to offer a frivolous, unnecessary product amid a global crisis. New York Times, 7 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fans of Premier League teams are angered by events, even after Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur released exit statements, which ranged from the apologetic to the matter-of-fact. Henry Flynn, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 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, 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, 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, 31 Aug. 2019 That is an apologetics for white supremacy, an ideology with a long legacy of violence. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 23 May 2016 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apologetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologetic. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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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

Other Words from apologetic

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

More from Merriam-Webster on apologetic

Nglish: Translation of apologetic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apologetic for Arabic Speakers


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