noun ap·o·lo·gia \ ˌa-pə-ˈlō-j(ē-)ə \
|Updated on: 20 Jun 2018

Definition of apologia

: a defense especially of one's opinions, position, or actions
  • the finest apologia or explanation of what drives a man to devote his life to pure mathematics
  • British Book News

Recent Examples of apologia from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apologia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

An apologia and an apology usually aren't the same thing. An apology includes an admission of wrongdoing, but an apologia rarely apologizes in this sense, instead seeking to justify what was done. So, for example, in 1992 some of the books published for the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage were apologias explaining why European powers such as Spain acted as they did in the New World: because, for example, the Aztecs were a cruel people, practicing human sacrifice in grotesque ways (victims were skinned, and their skins were worn by the high priests), and Christianity hoped to reform them. Of course, the Spanish Inquisition was torturing and executing nonbelievers at the same time—but that would be the subject of other apologias.

Origin and Etymology of apologia

Late Latin

Synonym Discussion of apologia

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

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one who attends or assists a leader

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