apol·​o·​gy | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce apology (audio) \
plural apologies

Definition of apology

1a : an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology
b apologies plural : an expression of regret for not being able to do something I won't be able to attend. Please give them my apologies.
2a : something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize : defense The book is an apology for capitalism.
3 informal : a poor substitute or example : makeshift He's a poor apology for a father.

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Choose the Right Synonym for apology

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

Examples of apology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

An apology to my family, who are elderly and have suffered greatly, would be appreciated. Christopher Elliott, courant.com, "Problem Solved: Their house burned down, but AT&T is still sending phone bill," 30 Aug. 2019 The assurances and apologies have come as cold comfort to the families of 21,000 veterans diagnosed by chief pathologist Robert Morris Levy over 12 years, many of whom will live for years with the consequences of his mistakes. Anchorage Daily News, "How Veterans Affairs failed to stop a pathologist who misdiagnosed 3,000 cases," 30 Aug. 2019 Protesters assaulted two men from mainland China, violence that was broadcast live by the local news media, prompting soul-searching and apologies. New York Times, "City on Edge: Photographs From Hong Kong’s Summer of Protest," 28 Aug. 2019 Frequent, extraneous apologies can create the appearance of being insecure. Scott Steinberg, Quartz at Work, "The best way to apologize when you’ve screwed up at work," 28 Aug. 2019 Appreciate the apology but clearly more work needs to be done. Laura Hanrahan, Woman's Day, "‘GMA's Lara Spencer Apologizes For Her 'Insensitive' Prince George Comments, But People Say It's Not Enough," 26 Aug. 2019 The incident happened during Sunday’s game against the Marlins at Coors Field, and has since prompted an apology from the organization to the couple. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Aurora Hills Golf Course still a favorite as city celebrates 50th anniversary," 23 Aug. 2019 But luxury brands—whose largest single market is often China—offered grovelling apologies. The Economist, "China’s thin-skinned online nationalists want to be both loved and feared by the West," 22 Aug. 2019 In a protest at the airport, demonstrators tied up and beat two men believed to be undercover mainland agents, an incident that has prompted soul-searching in the leaderless movement in recent days, and apologies from demonstrators. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "China’s disinformation on Hong Kong protests is on Twitter and Facebook," 20 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apology.' 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 apology

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for apology

Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French apologie, from Late Latin apologia, from Greek, from apo- + logos speech — more at legend

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Statistics for apology

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apology

The first known use of apology was in 1533

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More Definitions for apology


apol·​o·​gy | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce apology (audio) \
plural apologies

Kids Definition of apology

: an expression of regret for having done or said something wrong

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Comments on apology

What made you want to look up apology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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