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

Griffin issued off-key apologies in ways that only made things worse. Théoden Janes, charlotteobserver, "Controversial comic Kathy Griffin’s back, with a warning for fans coming to her show," 13 July 2018 Asia tweeted a bunch of praise emojis in response to Khloé's apology. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Khloé Kardashian Apologized to Asia Kate Dillon for Using the Wrong Pronoun," 9 July 2018 Aum made a public apology for its violent acts in 1999 and pledged to compensate victims. Author: Stuart Biggs, Gearoid Reidy, Anchorage Daily News, "Japan executes cult leader and 6 others for deadly 1995 sarin attack," 6 July 2018 The site was unblocked only after the company’s chief executive issued a grovelling public apology. The Economist, "A deadline looms in China’s battle with foreign firms over Taiwan," 5 July 2018 Yet on Twitter, there is only mealy-mouthed dithering over free speech, followed by haphazard censorship and the inevitable apologies. Nick Bilton, The Hive, "“It’s Not Up to Us What People Say”: Why We Can’t Bet on Silicon Valley to Save Us from Ourselves," 1 June 2018 On Monday, after Francis tweeted about the experience, TSA tweeted an apology and offered condolences for the loss of his mother, Carrie Leanne Francis, who died unexpectedly two weeks ago. Martine Powers, ajc, "TSA: We didn't spill the cremated remains of A.J. Francis's mother," 11 July 2018 Alas, Fox News' sudden pivot to something resembling truthful journalism was short-lived, as Huntsman offered an on-the-air apology for her good and accurate assessment of the situation. Jay Willis, GQ, "Fox News Momentarily Pivots to Truthful Journalism," 11 June 2018 Late last year, Facebook executives offered many public apologies for their failure to recognize and stop these ads. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Here are the Russian-made Facebook ads that tried to shake American politics," 10 May 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

16 Sep 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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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).


to make amends

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