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 Zoom Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan has apologized for the lapses, acknowledging in a blog post last week the company had fallen short of expectations over privacy and security. Peter Blumberg, Bloomberg.com, "Zoom Sued for Fraud Over Privacy, Security Flaws," 10 May 2020 Over the decades, Samsung and its top leaders have often apologized for bribery, tax-evasion and other crimes. New York Times, "Samsung Heir Apologizes for Corruption and Union-Busting Scandals," 6 May 2020 And take a further minute to quietly apologize to both Bey and Meg, while pledging to do better and listen quicker in future. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Beyoncé's Mom, Tina Knowles-Lawson, Had the Best Response to the 'Savage' Remix," 30 Apr. 2020 Department leaders have since apologized for the mistake and launched an internal investigation. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Oakland police launch internal probe after officers detain homeless outreach volunteers," 29 Apr. 2020 The doctors have since apologized in response to the global outrage but the anger of Drogba, Ba, Eto’o and countless others has deep roots, since Mira and Locht were merely invoking a long tradition of French experimentation upon Africans. Musa Okwonga, Quartz Africa, "The French doctors who wanted to test vaccines on Africans and Western medicine’s dark history," 10 Apr. 2020 Scottsdale Councilman Guy Phillips has apologized for sharing a post on Facebook over the weekend that incorrectly stated the meaning for COVID-19, the official name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "'That is my shame': Scottsdale council member Guy Phillips apologizes for sharing false coronavirus info," 24 Mar. 2020 Three days after the suit was filed, the city of Cincinnati apologized and announced a $151,000 settlement. Jennifer Edwards Baker, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati police officer, sister arrested when argument at card game turns violent," 24 Mar. 2020 As the other coaches tried to apologize to Camm, Kelly became hysterical again. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson Totally Lost Control During This Awkward Blind Audition on 'The Voice'," 8 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for apologize

Time Traveler

The first known use of apologize was in 1596

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Statistics for apologize

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apologize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologize. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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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Comments on apologize

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