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

United Airlines has issued an apology to the family of a 14-year-old boy who was mistakenly put on a flight to Germany instead of Sweden. Gina Martinez, Time, "United Airlines Apologizes After Putting Unaccompanied Minor on Wrong International Flight," 3 July 2019 And United Airlines has issued an apology to the family. Adrienne Jordan, USA TODAY, "United apologizes after mother says unaccompanied minor put on wrong international flight," 1 July 2019 The mood among Knicks fans got so bad, the team issued a public apology of sorts. Joey Morona, cleveland.com, "Stephen A. Smith’s reaction is the best thing about wild first day of NBA free agency," 1 July 2019 Mets Manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas blew up at a beat reporter after Sunday’s loss, using enough profanity the club issued an apology shortly after. Neil Greenberg, The Denver Post, "The NL East was supposed to have four good teams. Turns out it only has one.," 24 June 2019 But her parents want the district to issue an apology or get rid of the devices entirely. oregonlive.com, "Beaverton to address $12 million accounting error, GOP walkout puts sexual misconduct bill in limbo: The week in education," 22 June 2019 Bella Hadid has issued an apology after posting a photo that some considered offensive. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Bella Hadid Responds To Backlash Over Offensive Instagram Photo," 18 June 2019 At the time, vp of marketing Alice Chen issued an apology and promised to do better in the future. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Physicians Formula Just Added Gorgeous Rose-Shaped Highlighters to Its Rosé Collection [Update]," 14 June 2019 Without stopping to think that the damage had already been done, Lands’ End pulled the profile and issued an apology. Karen Karbo, National Geographic, "How Gloria Steinem became the 'world’s most famous feminist'," 25 Mar. 2019

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

8 Jul 2019

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 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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Comments on apology

What made you want to look up apology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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