apol·​o·​gy | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce apology (audio) \
plural apologies

Definition of apology

1a : an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology
b apologies plural : an expression of regret for not being able to do something I won't be able to attend. Please give them my apologies.
2a : something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize : defense The book is an apology for capitalism.
3 informal : a poor substitute or example : makeshift He's a poor apology for a father.

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Choose the Right Synonym for apology

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances. said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position. his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure. used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy. her usual plea that she was nearsighted pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation. used any pretext to get out of work alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation. his alibi failed to stand scrutiny

Examples of apology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pelosi, a Democrat who has represented the San Francisco area in Congress for decades, maintained that she was set up by Kious and demanded an apology. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "'Afraid to go back': Business owner who outed Pelosi closes San Francisco salon," 10 Sep. 2020 Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly offered an apology on Thursday after being criticized by Republicans for making an insensitive remark while joking about his brother’s time spent in space. Andrew O'reilly | Fox News, Fox News, "Dem Senate candidate Mark Kelly apologizes for offensive joke about brother," 10 Sep. 2020 In addition to prompting an apology from DeGeneres, the report led to changes at the show, including the exit of three top producers -- Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "Ellen DeGeneres sets talk show return date," 8 Sep. 2020 On Tuesday, teachers, psychologists and social workers circulated a petition demanding an apology from the authorities and a call for the officers involved to be investigated. New York Times, "Outcry in Hong Kong After Police Tackle 12-Year-Old Girl," 8 Sep. 2020 But the manicured apology to come isn’t going to win Djokovic many hearts and minds. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Novak Djokovic's moment of boneheadedness will ripple across tennis, U.S. Open history," 7 Sep. 2020 As sports apologies go—as any apology goes—that’s not bad. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Say It Ain’t Djo! How Does Novak Djokovic Rally From His U.S. Open Bounce?," 7 Sep. 2020 This caused a false start, prompting the sale of Cowboys tickets to be suspended and the team to issue an apology to account holders. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Issues with SeatGeek’s new platform force Cowboys to pause sale of single-game tickets to season-ticket holders," 4 Sep. 2020 Pelosi is demanding an apology from the salon owner for allegedly setting her up. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "On Nancy Pelosi’s Haircut," 3 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apology.' 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 apology

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for apology

Middle English apologe "formal defense," borrowed from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French apologie "public defense in speech or writing," borrowed from Late Latin apologia, borrowed from Greek apología "speech in defense (Late Greek, "speech in defense of the Christian faith by a martyr, excuse, vindication before God"), derivative (with -ia -ia entry 1) of apologeîsthai "to speak in defense, defend oneself" — more at apologetic entry 1

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Time Traveler for apology

Time Traveler

The first known use of apology was in 1533

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Statistics for apology

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apology. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for apology


apol·​o·​gy | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce apology (audio) \
plural apologies

Kids Definition of apology

: an expression of regret for having done or said something wrong

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