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

President Bill Clinton apologized in 1999 for the US role in the genocide, which involved considerable material and political support from the United States. Mark Weisbrot, The New Republic, "Tariffs Are a Bad Response to an Imaginary Border Crisis," 5 June 2019 Town Council member Martha MacFarlane apologized to a crowd of about 100 at a community meeting Monday night — with Lake County school district officials in attendance — for failing to realize the impact of plans for the alternative school. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, "Howey peeved about plans for alternative school but resigned that it’s coming," 4 June 2019 Costume designer and stylist June Ambrose apologized for her on-air flub during the red carpet live stream at the CFDA Awards Monday night. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "June Ambrose Apologizes for Mistakenly Asking if the Late Kate Spade Was Attending CFDA Awards," 4 June 2019 The quote entered the public conversation after Folsom High Principal Howard Cadenhead sent an email to parents last Tuesday apologizing for a raft of problems with the yearbook, printed by Jostens Inc. Sawsan Morrar, sacbee, "Folsom student said ‘cracker’ in her senior quote – and sparked a debate about diversity," 4 June 2019 Blake, to his credit, quickly apologized—with even more exclamation points!!!!!!!!! Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Blake Shelton Accidentally Started Drama With a Fan on Twitter and It Was Very Awkward," 13 May 2019 Later, Perrineau’s mother brokered a sit-down between Perrineau and Dunham, and Dunham apologized in person. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Aurora Perrineau Wanted to Be Known as an Actor. Instead, Her Name Got Dragged Into Scandal," 21 May 2019 Shortly after apologizing to Cheryl, The Voice coach wrapped things up by sharing an irrelevant (but beautiful!) photo of his longtime girlfriend, Gwen Stefani at the Met Gala. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Blake Shelton Accidentally Started Drama With a Fan on Twitter and It Was Very Awkward," 13 May 2019 The Washington Post reports that Isaiah apologized for the incident, but then used the same slur again backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in front of reporters in January. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The True Story of Why Isaiah Washington Left 'Grey's Anatomy' and Dr. Burke Behind," 2 May 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

8 Jun 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

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