ap·​o·​lo·​gia | \ ˌa-pə-ˈlō-j(ē-)ə How to pronounce apologia (audio) \

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 mathematicsBritish Book News

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

Examples of apologia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Given arguments such as the one above, some will no doubt try to frame The New Class War as an apologia for the Trump administration. Samuel Hammond, National Review, "The Return of Class Conflict," 6 Feb. 2020 His apologia for Castro amounts almost to a formal forfeit of the Florida Democratic primary on March 17. Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "Democrats in South Florida Know Castro Better Than Bernie Sanders Does," 9 Mar. 2020 Somewhere Becoming Rain: Collected Writings on Philip Larkin gathers almost five decades of James on Larkin: reviews, essays, apologias, meditations, and two actual homages-in-verse. James Parker, The Atlantic, "A Book That Honors a Complicated Figure," 26 Dec. 2019 Yet Power’s apologia is insistent — and absurdly compelling. Washington Post, "Can an uncompromising activist keep her integrity while working in the White House?," 6 Sep. 2019 Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and celebrity attorney, banged a hard right turn from establishment Democratic Party politics toward Trumpian apologia late in 2017, for reasons that seem to boil down to his own personal unpleasantness. David Roth, The New Republic, "Making sense of Donald Trump's petulant reign," 12 June 2019 Her insistence that Ellen is unhappy (when, in fact, Montgomery’s Ellen seems the most resilient — or at least healthily resigned — of the three) serves as both an apologia and an attack. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "'Four Places' at Den Theatre: As their parents age, old secrets break their silences," 11 June 2019 The Times’s best needle explainer/apologia, from March 2018, compares the needle to the work that political analysts do as the precinct data rolls in. Dara Lind, Vox, "America’s love-hate relationship with the New York Times election needle, explained," 6 Nov. 2018 John’s confession, both his apologia and his life story, is told in the first person. Margot Livesey, BostonGlobe.com, "Braiding lives of a Syrian refugee, a failed 23-year-old, and elderly accountant," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of apologia

1784, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apologia

Late Latin

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Time Traveler for apologia

Time Traveler

The first known use of apologia was in 1784

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Last Updated

8 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apologia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologia. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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