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apol·​o·​get·​ic ə-ˌpä-lə-ˈje-tik How to pronounce apologetic (audio)
: 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
: offered in defense or vindication
the apologetic writings of the early Christians
apologetically adverb


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Examples of apologetic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The brand was apologetic and paid her for the unexpected overtime. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, 19 Sep. 2023 The two maintained that The Color Purple actress was apologetic for asking. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2023 In wording that seems oddly apologetic and reflects CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek’s long resistance to raising prices, the company made the announcement in a blog post Monday morning. Jem Aswad, Variety, 24 July 2023 The proprietor, Stéphane Roudier, is apologetic, first for the appearance of his aging stillhouse, then for the lack of heating in this unseasonably cold winter. Jason O'Bryan, Robb Report, 19 Aug. 2023 LaTurner’s staff was apologetic, said a story in the Kansas Reflector, a news website. Evan Rosen, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Aug. 2023 The gun owner was reportedly apologetic and helped repair the damage. Brian Lisik, cleveland, 17 July 2023 The people who ran the lodge had been very apologetic; our fishing had been way below normal because of that year’s El Nino, a major chance in the normal weather that had thrown the temperature of the water off significantly and driven most of the big fish away. David Halberstam, Town & Country, 15 June 2023 Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Urban was apologetic about breaking the celebrity romance bro code. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 13 June 2023
Heather Dubrow on 'Very Difficult' Season of 'RHOC': 'Friendship Runs Deep — and So Do Feuds' (Exclusive) Later in the episode, John and Shannon arrived at CUT and were greeted by an apologetic Tamra, who offered a hug and another apology. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 22 June 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apologetic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 2


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near apologetic

Cite this Entry

“Apologetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologetic. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: offered by way of apology
an apologetic smile
: sorry for some fault or failure

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