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.

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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 Zak Schwank was the only council member to address Alexander directly and urged her to apologize for her comments. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Vaccine? Anyone?," 30 Apr. 2021 Liza tries to apologize to Charles but for the first time actually shows a little emotion. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, "Younger Recap: Mid-Lit Crisis," 29 Apr. 2021 The New York Times did a story on problems at the Chicago Assembly Plant in 2017 that inspired then-CEO Jim Hackett to go apologize in person in 2018 and launch an anti-harassment campaign while committing publicly to a safe workplace. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford's new racial equity director, Angela Henderson, tackles 'elephant in the room'," 29 Apr. 2021 The mother confirmed the teacher called her this afternoon to apologize. Jim Defede, CBS News, "Miami Centner Academy teacher warned kids against hugging COVID-vaccinated parents for more than 5 seconds," 29 Apr. 2021 On social media some Black women called Bieber's hairstyle offensive and disrespectful and urged him to change it and apologize. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Justin Bieber is being accused of cultural appropriation over his hair. Again.," 27 Apr. 2021 Some educators have been forced to apologize, while others have either resigned or been fired. NBC News, "Zoom fails: Virtual classrooms expose teachers' racist, offensive rants," 26 Apr. 2021 Codling was brought back with some punishments: He was demoted to officer, got no back pay for the months he was gone, and was required to apologize to Desir. Marc Freeman, sun-sentinel.com, "Racism complaints against Boca police resurface in ex-cop’s discrimination lawsuit," 26 Apr. 2021 Behar later took time on-air to apologize for her comments. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Joy Behar apologizes for misgendering Caitlyn Jenner on 'The View,' blames lack of sleep," 24 Apr. 2021

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

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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Statistics for apologize

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apologize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologize. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on apologize

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