apol·​o·​gy | \ə-ˈpä-lə-jē \
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.

b : excuse sense 2a

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

Victoria's Secret has since issued an apology for his comments regarding transgender models, but did not walk back the remarks on size inclusivity. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Body-Positive Influencers Respond to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show With Their Own Lingerie Photos," 3 Dec. 2018 About 700 of the Kim puzzles were sold in recent weeks, before the backlash forced Scholas to pull the product and issue an apology. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "Kim Jong Un’s Extreme Makeover Plays Well in South Korea, for Now," 28 Nov. 2018 Just when her father, Thomas Markle, had seemingly taken a step back, and half-sister Samantha issued an apology on live TV, another family member has appeared in the spotlight to grab their 15 minutes of fame from the Duchess of Sussex. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Nephew Tyler Dooley Has Been Cast in New MTV Reality Show 'The Royal World'," 9 Oct. 2018 Following the release of the independent probe’s findings last month, Mr. Peters issued a public apology and admitted his actions were wrong. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Mayor Accused of Trying to Intimidate Investigations Commissioner," 19 Nov. 2018 Klein issued a partial apology after viewing the footage. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "The criminalization of blackness isn’t just about adults. It affects black kids too.," 15 Oct. 2018 Musk apologized for this tweet a few days later, but his actions in the following weeks belied his apology. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "British cave explorer sues Elon Musk for defamation over “pedo guy” tweets," 17 Sep. 2018 My sincerest apologies for the agony and mumble-cursing that undoubtedly ensued. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Amazon’s New Part Finder Tool Takes Care Of The Most Annoying Part Of Any DIY Project," 27 July 2018 Sceviour seeks unspecified financial damages, the expungement of his reprimand, and a public apology from the defendants for his alleged mistreatment. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Lawsuit alleges DA ‘directed’ conspiracy in State Police scandal," 22 June 2018

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 French or Late Latin; Middle French apologie, from Late Latin apologia, from Greek, from apo- + logos speech — more at legend

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Statistics for apology

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apology

The first known use of apology was in 1533

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More Definitions for apology


apol·​o·​gy | \ə-ˈpä-lə-jē \
plural apologies

Kids Definition of apology

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

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