excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüz How to pronounce excuse (audio) , imperatively often ˈskyüz \
excused; excusing

Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to make apology for
b : to try to remove blame from
2 : to forgive entirely or disregard as of trivial import : regard as excusable graciously excused his tardiness
3a : to grant exemption or release to was excused from jury duty
b : to allow to leave excused the class
4 : to serve as excuse for : justify nothing can excuse such neglect

excuse

noun
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüs How to pronounce excuse (audio) \

Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of excusing
2a : something offered as justification or as grounds for being excused
b excuses plural : an expression of regret for failure to do something
c : a note of explanation of an absence

Other Words from excuse

Verb

excusable \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce excuse (audio) \ adjective
excusableness noun
excusably \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​blē How to pronounce excuse (audio) \ adverb
excuser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for excuse

Verb

excuse, condone, pardon, forgive mean to exact neither punishment nor redress. excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these. excuse an interruption excused them for interrupting Often the term implies extenuating circumstances. injustice excuses strong responses condone implies that one overlooks without censure behavior (such as dishonesty or violence) that involves a serious breach of a moral, ethical, or legal code, and the term may refer to the behavior or to the agent responsible for it. a society that condones alcohol but not narcotics pardon implies that one remits a penalty due for an admitted or established offense. pardon a criminal forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings. could not forgive their rudeness

Noun

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 excuse in a Sentence

Verb His boss excused the mistake but told him to be more careful next time. Please excuse me for not calling sooner. I was excused from jury duty. The teacher excused the class from homework that day. Nothing can excuse that kind of rudeness. Her father's illness excused her absence. Noun What's your excuse for being so late? She had no valid excuse for not finishing her homework. He's always making excuses for himself. I made my excuses and left. His birthday gives us a good excuse for a party. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bekman said the jury's verdict sends a message that being drunk does not excuse violent behavior. CBS News, 3 May 2022 Employees, of course, need to earn that flexibility by maintaining high levels of productivity, as caregiving responsibilities don’t excuse poor work performance. Lynne Curry | Alaska Workplace, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2022 The Browns can excuse Mayfield but not tell him to stay away. Nate Ulrich, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Yes, sometimes parents behave horrifically under the pressures of raising young children — not to excuse it, just to explain — and then mellow into decent, if not great, grandparents. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 In romantic relationships, a gaslighter may use their partner’s love against them as a way to excuse their own bad behavior. Erica Sweeney, Good Housekeeping, 22 Apr. 2022 Students who participated were marked absent from third period, but parents can call to excuse the absence, noted Salt Lake City School District spokesperson Yándary Chatwin. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Apr. 2022 Some states were allowed to excuse themselves and maintain year-round standard time, as did Hawaii and Arizona (but not the Navajo Nation). Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, 11 Mar. 2022 That means a city cannot excuse commercial tenants from their previous rental agreements, said lawyers for the San Francisco Apartment Association and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Any qualified voter may cast a no-excuse in-person absentee ballot on the Thursday, Friday or Saturday immediately preceding the day of an election — which is May 12-14 for the 2022 primary. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 12 Apr. 2022 The world is watching the fighting warily since Western officials have warned for weeks that Russia would look for a pretext to invade — and that the conflict in Donbas could provide just such an excuse. The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Feb. 2022 Valentine's Day is really just an excuse to go to Economy Candy, in New York City. CBS News, 13 Feb. 2022 Whether that plays as an explanation or just an excuse probably depends on your perspective. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Jan. 2022 If none of that works, burnout is usually just an excuse. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Dec. 2021 Christian leaders say that is just an excuse to stir up a mob. New York Times, 23 Dec. 2021 What happened on 9/11 was just an excuse to fight al-Qaeda. Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2021 The truck is really just an excuse to show off Ford’s new electric crate motor, also called the Eluminator, which is available now for $3,900. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 3 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'excuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of excuse

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for excuse

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French escuser, excuser, from Latin excusare, from ex- + causa cause, explanation

Learn More About excuse

Time Traveler for excuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of excuse was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near excuse

excusatory

excuse

excuseless

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for excuse

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Excuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excuse. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for excuse

excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüz How to pronounce excuse (audio) \
excused; excusing

Kids Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make apology for I excused myself for being late.
2 : to overlook or pardon as of little importance "You must excuse my gruff conduct," the watchdog said …— Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
3 : to let off from doing something He was excused from chores for a week.
4 : to be an acceptable reason for Nothing excuses bad manners.

excuse

noun
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüs How to pronounce excuse (audio) \

Kids Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a reason given for having done something wrong What's your excuse for being so late?
2 : something that is an acceptable reason for or justifies There is no excuse for bad behavior.
3 : a reason for doing something That's a good excuse for a party.

excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüz How to pronounce excuse (audio) \
excused; excusing

Legal Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to grant exemption or release to excused the prospective juror excused the witness after an hour of testimony
2 : justify

intransitive verb

: to serve as an excuse or justification exigent circumstances may excuse— J. J. White and R. S. Summers

excuse

noun
ex·​cuse | \ ik-ˈskyüs How to pronounce excuse (audio) \

Legal Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : excusal
2a : a circumstance that allows for release under the law from an obligation, duty, or contractual liability — compare act of god, force majeure, fortuitous event, impossibility of performance
b : a circumstance (as a physical threat) that grants immunity for otherwise tortious or criminal conduct — compare justification, privilege

More from Merriam-Webster on excuse

Nglish: Translation of excuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excuse for Arabic Speakers

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