apol·​o·​gize | \ -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

Dugger apologized to the girls and their mothers, who sat in the back of the courtroom. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Judge invokes Dante’s ‘Inferno’ in sentencing ex-Cleveland school security guard to prison for sexually abusing students," 17 July 2019 Toulou also apologized to senators for the late testimony, explaining that the bills are complex and require wide review within the Justice Department. Author: Mary Hudetza, Anchorage Daily News, "Feds miss 2nd deadline for congressional tribal safety bills," 16 July 2019 Puerto Rico's embattled Governor Ricardo Rosselló apologized for his role in a vulgar group chat that included profane, homophobic and sexist comments in questions Tuesday from CBS News' David Begnaud. Brian Pascus, CBS News, ""It was shameful": Puerto Rico's embattled governor Ricardo Rosselló responds to scandal," 16 July 2019 Rancic apologized on air during an episode of Fashion Police later that week. Constance Grady, Vox, "What makes Zendaya a great celebrity," 15 July 2019 In a video posted to the Police Department’s Facebook page, Cantrell apologized for leaving her gun behind after a lunch break Wednesday. Alejandra Reyes-velarde, latimes.com, "Man admits stealing police chief’s gun at El Pollo Loco bathroom, police say," 12 July 2019 Apple apologized for the temporary suspension while engineers investigate and fix the issue. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Eavesdropping flaw prompts Apple to suspend Walkie-Talkie app," 11 July 2019 In a statement to Woman's Day, a rep from American Airlines apologized to Miller. Leah Rocketto, Woman's Day, ""Dance Moms" Star Abby Lee Miller Fell Out Of Her Wheelchair at the Airport," 10 July 2019 Hohenfeldt also apologized for his actions in the letter citing pressures and adversaries. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Cudahy Mayor charged with forging a signature on an election ethics complaint," 8 July 2019

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

20 Jul 2019

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 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

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


to complain fretfully

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