1

excuse

play
verb ex·cuse \ ik-ˈskyüz , imperatively often ˈskyüz \

Definition of excuse

excused; excusing
transitive verb
1 a :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
3 a :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

excusable

play \ik-ˈskyü-zə-bəl\ adjective

excusableness

noun

excusably

play \ik-ˈskyü-zə-blē\ adverb

excuser

noun

Examples of excuse in a Sentence

  1. His boss excused the mistake but told him to be more careful next time.

  2. Please excuse me for not calling sooner.

  3. I was excused from jury duty.

  4. The teacher excused the class from homework that day.

  5. Nothing can excuse that kind of rudeness.

  6. Her father's illness excused her absence.

Recent Examples of excuse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of excuse

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

excuse Synonyms

Synonyms
blink (at), brush (aside or off), condone, discount, disregard, forgive, gloss (over), gloze (over), ignore, overlook, overpass, paper over, pardon, pass over, remit, shrug off, whitewash, wink (at), close one's eyes to, forgive and forget
Related Words
explain, justify, rationalize; absolve, acquit, clear, exculpate, exonerate, vindicate; waive, wave (aside or off)
Near Antonyms
heed, mark, mind, note, object (to)

Synonym Discussion of excuse

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

2

excuse

play
noun ex·cuse \ ik-ˈskyüs \

Definition of excuse

1 :the act of excusing
2 a :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

Examples of excuse in a Sentence

  1. What's your excuse for being so late?

  2. She had no valid excuse for not finishing her homework.

  3. He's always making excuses for himself.

  4. I made my excuses and left.

  5. His birthday gives us a good excuse for a party.

Recent Examples of excuse from the Web

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

14th century

Synonym Discussion of excuse

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


EXCUSE Defined for English Language Learners

excuse

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verb

Definition of excuse for English Language Learners

  • : to forgive someone for making a mistake, doing something wrong, etc.,

  • : to say that (someone) is not required to do something

  • : to allow (someone, such as a child) to leave


excuse

play
noun

Definition of excuse for English Language Learners

  • : a reason that you give to explain a mistake, bad behavior, etc.

  • excuses : reasons that you give to explain politely why you cannot do something, why you have to leave, etc.

  • : something (such as a condition or set of conditions) that explains improper behavior and makes it acceptable


EXCUSE Defined for Kids

1

excuse

play
verb ex·cuse \ ik-ˈskyüz \

Definition of excuse for Students

excused; excusing
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.

2

excuse

play
noun ex·cuse \ ik-ˈskyüs \

Definition of excuse for Students

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.

Law Dictionary

1

excuse

play
verb ex·cuse \ ik-ˈskyüz \

legal Definition of excuse

excused; excusing
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

2

excuse

play
noun ex·cuse \ ik-ˈskyüs \

legal Definition of excuse

1 :excusal
2 a :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


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