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 Vice Chancellor Mogulof responded to Re via email and declined to apologize for the framing of the school’s official response. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "UC Berkeley laments toll George Floyd's death has taken on students after murder of 19-year-old white student," 26 June 2020 The comments cause a backlash on social media, including among some CrossFit gym owners, leading Glassman to apologize. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "CrossFit founder Greg Glassman to sell company after backlash over "divisive statements"," 24 June 2020 Many of the protesters called for the police to apologize. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "As Huntsville’s police chief defends using tear gas, protesters call for apology," 19 June 2020 The 64-year-old Shorewood woman seen on video spitting on a Black teenager at a protest and shoving a 21-year-old man outside her home wants to meet with the two victims to apologize, according to her attorney. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Shorewood woman accused of spitting on a Black teenager wants to meet with the victim to apologize, attorney says," 18 June 2020 The company also said that Yum's head of human resources and the head of diversity and inclusion had spoken to Skinner last week and offered to apologize. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Taco Bell’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ controversy shows how easily corporations can stumble on race issues," 18 June 2020 Perhaps the sense of the changing of the tide caught up with Milley and forced him to apologize. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "“I Didn’t Know” Is Not a Defense for Enabling Trump," 12 June 2020 The confusing trailer concludes with Chris Redfield showing up to apologize to Ethan. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man, Ratchet and Clank, Gran Turismo, and more are coming to PS5," 11 June 2020 Everyone wears their little fascinators and eats tiny sandwiches, and Leah arrives ready to apologize to Ramona. Jodi Walker, EW.com, "The Real Housewives of New York City recap: She threw a ravioli!," 5 June 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

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apologize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apologize. Accessed 5 Jul. 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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