apol·​o·​gize | \-ˌjīz \
apologized; apologizing

Definition of apologize 

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.

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Other Words from apologize

apologizer noun

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

At Bynum’s request, the deputy called the woman who had called the police, at which point the woman apologized to Bynum. Mihir Zaveri, The Seattle Times, "Police are called on black Oregon lawmaker as she knocks on doors," 6 July 2018 Kardashian added, even apologizing to her oldest sister, Kourtney Kardashian, about the struggles of being a working mom. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé Kardashian Is 'Very Grateful' That Tristan Thompson Is a ‘Great Daddy’ to Daughter True," 6 July 2018 Schuler said the airline apologized to the other passengers. Prescotte Stokes Iii, star-telegram, ""You want to know what hell is?" Woman goes ballistic on a Spirit Airlines flight from Texas," 26 June 2018 Nate Taylor, KKR’s head of consumer retail, on Thursday apologized to the board and expressed regret for the employees who had lost their jobs, according to an audio recording of the meeting reviewed by WSJ Pro Private Equity. Chris Cumming, WSJ, "Cumming’s Take: Minnesota Puts KKR on Ice Over Toys ‘R’ Us," 25 June 2018 Three days later, the Boy Scouts’ leader would apologize for Trump’s speech. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Where Is Barack Obama?," 24 June 2018 Oxfam responded to the decision in a statement on Wednesday, apologizing again to the Haitian government and its people. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Haiti bans Oxfam GB over sexual misconduct scandal," 14 June 2018 Left her with three years of PTSD and never paid for her treatment, and still hasn’t apologized to her. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "Jameela Jamil Calls Out Emile Hirsch’s Abusive Behavior Following Tarantino Announcement," 8 June 2018 The comic, who had vowed to leave Twitter on Tuesday following the backlash only to return to the social media platform later that evening to blame her tweets on Ambien, also apologized to her young Roseanne costar Jayden Rey on Thursday. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "Roseanne Barr Says She "Begged" ABC's Ben Sherwood Not to Cancel Her Show," 1 June 2018

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

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apologize

see apology

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Statistics for apologize

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apologize

The first known use of apologize was in 1596

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More Definitions for apologize


apol·​o·​gize | \ə-ˈpä-lə-ˌjīz \
apologized; apologizing

Kids Definition of apologize

: to express regret for having done or said something wrong

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Comments on apologize

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


playful or foolish behavior

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