apol·​o·​gize ə-ˈpä-lə-ˌjīz How to pronounce apologize (audio)
apologized; apologizing

intransitive verb

: to express regret for something done or said : to make an apology
He apologized for his mistake.
She apologized to us for losing her temper.
apologizer noun

Did you know?

Does apologize always mean "to say 'I'm sorry'"?

The verb apologize is a surprisingly recent introduction to the English language when one stops to consider that we have likely been committing deeds which require an apology since time immemorial. Our earliest current record of use comes at the end of the 16th century, in the writing of Thomas Nash:

”….but as the Elephant and the Rinoceros neuer fight but about the best pastures, so will I winne from him his best Patrons, and driue him to confesse himselfe a Conundrum, who now thinks he hath learning inough to proue the saluation of Lucifer; Apologize it for him as many Chutes, Barnesses, or vile riggers, or Fregeuiles as there will.”

The earliest uses of apologize more often meant “to offer an excuse or defense” than “to acknowledge a fault.” The verb came into our language from the noun apology, which similarly had an initial meaning (beginning in the early 16th century) that did not necessarily acknowledge fault (“something said or written in defense or justification of what appears to others to be wrong or of what may be liable to disapprobation”).

Examples of apologize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The backlash from developers was swift, leading Unity to apologize and rethink its stance. WIRED, 22 Sep. 2023 Has anyone who was part of that pile-on since apologized to you? Mikey O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Sep. 2023 Kutcher and Kunis apologized after their own letters to the judge seeking leniency for Masterson became public and spurred criticism. Andrew Dalton, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2023 Fallon later apologized to his staff in a virtual meeting, joining DeGeneres in the club of talk hosts with likable public personas and boss-from-hell reputations. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 Steinke, who wept during the sentencing hearing, apologized to Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who attended the hearing virtually. CBS News, 18 Sep. 2023 After the exposé, Fallon apologized during a meeting with his staff. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 20 Sep. 2023 On Pepsi's post, several commenters said the brand should apologize to the singer. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 19 Sep. 2023 Officers spoke to the store managers, who explained that the man, 29, has special needs and had apologized to them several times about the incident. cleveland, 18 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apologize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


earlier, "to speak in justification (of)," from apology + -ize

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apologize was in 1596

Dictionary Entries Near apologize

Cite this Entry

“Apologize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologize. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


apol·​o·​gize ə-ˈpäl-ə-ˌjīz How to pronounce apologize (audio)
apologized; apologizing
: to make an apology
apologizer noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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