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

As an apology, the company is giving away $15 vouchers to Bonus Club members. Doreen Christensen, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Dear Doreen's Deals: Locked-up carts at Aldi keep prices low; what's tax-free for back to school," 13 July 2018 Mosely on Thursday posted an apology on his Facebook page, referring to the comments to the deputy as a joke. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Arizona state lawmaker brags about speeding, claims immunity: video," 13 July 2018 Hence, the almost weekly public apologies of personalities both famous and faint for crude, rude, thoughtless or worse electronic missives. SFChronicle.com, "A long tradition: Americans behaving badly," 5 July 2018 The apology was a rare concession for the president, who in the face of criticism is more apt to double down than to walk back his comments, and who often instructs aides to never apologize for their actions. Rebecca Ballhaus And Jenny Gross, WSJ, "Trump Affirms Support for May, U.K. Trade Deal Following Tensions Over Brexit," 13 July 2018 And that apology was about something bigger than one moment in time. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Family Separation Is Being Compared to Japanese Internment. It Took Decades for the U.S. to Admit That Policy Was Wrong," 18 June 2018 But the apology wasn’t enough for everyone, however—including those who worked with Barr on Roseanne. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: In 2018, Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction," 3 June 2018 Combustible as ever, Griffin apologized, then rescinded the apology. James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Didya hear the one about the racist tweet from Roseanne? When a ‘joke’ isn’t," 31 May 2018 After the school district apology on Monday, a petition calling for Phillips to be fired was created. Everton Bailey Jr., OregonLive.com, "Former Beaverton deputy superintendent says sorry for 'pain, harm, embarrassment' caused," 20 Apr. 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

14 Oct 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).


one that holds something together

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