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

Longino said the judge apologized, but that didn’t bring back his shot at the NFL. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Former ASU football star Antonio Longino refuses to give up on dreams," 30 June 2018 The queen apologized for the stunt, but that didn’t stop social media from meme-ing the moment. Patrick Crowley, Billboard, "'Drag Race': Best Memes From The Season 10 Finale," 29 June 2018 Lumpkin, who used the word to show its offensive impact, was spoken to by a senior faculty member and apologized to his company of cadets but was not disciplined, academy officials said. Michael Melia, courant.com, "Racial Climate At Coast Guard Academy Faces New Scrutiny," 26 June 2018 Last month, Bounds apologized to committee members for the tone of his controversial college articles but pledged that his desire then was for a diverse and tolerant Stanford University campus. Maxine Bernstein, OregonLive.com, "Senate Judiciary votes 11 to 10 to forward Ryan Bounds' 9th Circuit nomination to Senate floor," 7 June 2018 Barr had earlier apologized to members of the cast and crew, but the tweet was deleted. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Roseanne Barr says co-stars threw her under the bus," 30 May 2018 The apology was a rare concession for the president, who in the face of criticism is more apt to double down than to walk back his comments, and who often instructs aides to never apologize for their actions. Rebecca Ballhaus And Jenny Gross, WSJ, "Trump Affirms Support for May, U.K. Trade Deal Following Tensions Over Brexit," 13 July 2018 In other words, never apologize for being the best. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "At a Wimbledon Press Conference, Serena Williams Gives A Master Class In Unapologetic Excellence," 7 July 2018 Tanishia Covington was sentenced to three years in prison at an April hearing, during which Hooks reportedly told her to apologize directly to the victim, who sat in court. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Man sentenced for hate crime in live-streamed beating of mentally disabled teen," 6 July 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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Phrases Related to apologize

apologize for

Statistics for apologize

Last Updated

31 Aug 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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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