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 In her second presidential run, Clinton reversed herself on licenses and apologized for her past terminology. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "What’s Next for the GOP on Immigration?," 12 Sep. 2019 Exodus was the world's largest conversion therapy ministry until Chambers shut it down in 2013 and apologized to the LGBTQ community. Marisa Iati, Anchorage Daily News, "Conversion therapy center founder says he’s gay, rejects ‘cycle of self shame’," 4 Sep. 2019 Last week, Ivey issued a statement and a video apologizing for her appearance in the blackface skit. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Alabama NAACP responds to Ivey’s ‘look at the record’ comment," 3 Sep. 2019 Some brought placards apologizing for the disruption and violence caused the day before. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Protesters Return to Hong Kong Airport to Apologize for Flight Chaos," 14 Aug. 2019 Robin Angly sparkled in cap-sleeved gold sequins; Margaret Alkek Williams held court in the center aisle; and absolutely no one apologized for lingering ten minutes too long in the Green Room. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Symphony Opening Night 'all-Russian' Concert & Gala celebrates diversity, unity and vodka," 16 Sep. 2019 Limbaugh later apologized to Fluke for his comments. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "Progressive talk show host Krystal Ball slams Rush Limbaugh for 'slut shaming' her with false claim," 12 Sep. 2019 The district later apologized after accepting a local CEO's $22,000 donation to clear the debt. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "9-year-old student's hot lunch is taken away over a $9.75 unpaid balance, grandmother says," 10 Sep. 2019 The principal took more than two weeks to send letters to parents about the videos and later apologized for not sharing information sooner. Washington Post, "Parents slam schools that don’t warn them of threats," 9 Sep. 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

26 Oct 2019

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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