apol·​o·​gize | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-ˌjīz How to pronounce apologize (audio) \
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.

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 Vonhatten came back to the house days later to apologize and offer the man money for the attack, documents said. Chicago Tribune, 11 May 2022 But on the other side are those who truly are isolationists, really do apologize for Putin, and don’t particularly value liberal democracy, with Tucker Carlson being the most prominent example. Blaise Malley, The New Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 In addition to the protest outside his campaign office, 45 Asian American groups signed onto a letter demanding Chen apologize for his comments. Fox News, 25 Apr. 2022 After she was hit, Stallion said, Lanez immediately began to apologize and beg her not to tell anyone about the shooting. Christi Carrasstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 Not a single Japanese American was ever convicted of treason or espionage during this time, and later U.S. presidents would apologize and pay reparations to the families affected. Elaine Chong, Rolling Stone, 20 Apr. 2022 Through several highly suspenseful minutes, Smith in his acceptance speech attempted to explain, justify and partially apologize for smacking Rock, though without any apology to Rock himself. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, 28 Mar. 2022 The district attorney said his office will keep fighting for victims and won’t apologize for that. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 21 Apr. 2022 When it cannot be avoided, the hostess should apologize, make provisions so those excluded can see and hear, and ask close friends to sit in the second room, possibly designating one as an auxiliary hostess. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of apologize

1596, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apologize

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

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Time Traveler for apologize

Time Traveler

The first known use of apologize was in 1596

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Dictionary Entries Near apologize



apologize for

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Statistics for apologize

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apologize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologize. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for apologize


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

Kids Definition of apologize

: to express regret for having done or said something wrong


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