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

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Other Words from excuse

Verb

excusable \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce excusable (audio) \ adjective
excusableness noun
excusably \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​blē How to pronounce excusably (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wynn uses Tiffany to explore the struggles of all trans women in a way that doesn’t excuse that bigotry. Katherine Cross, The Verge, "The Oscar Wilde of YouTube fights the alt-right with decadence and seduction," 24 Aug. 2018 Was there something about the context of the comment that might explain or excuse it? Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Family fallout affects legacy," 12 Nov. 2019 During Dorian, 28 Palm Beach County employees who were not excused skipped work. Brooke Baitinger, sun-sentinel.com, "County workers lose week’s pay for not staffing hurricane shelters," 31 Oct. 2019 Those who wish to cry into their cappuccino now may be excused. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, "In San Francisco’s North Beach, pasta, poetry and a big helping of uncertainty," 14 Sep. 2019 But in early August, Bateman wasn’t catching any passes when he was excused from practice to return to Tifton to be with his family and pay his respects at his uncle’s funeral services. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Watch: Gophers receiver Rashod Bateman’s incredible one-handed catch just one of many for his late uncle," 30 Aug. 2019 Most states also offer two types of exemptions for reasons that have nothing to do with health: religious and/or philosophical, meaning a child can be excused from a vaccine on the grounds of religious or personal beliefs. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Actually Counts as a Medical Exemption for Vaccines—and What's at Stake When They're Abused," 26 Aug. 2019 On a player by player basis, a few poor performances can be excused. SI.com, "Things Are Confused at Tottenham Hotspur and it Is Very, Very Worrying," 25 Aug. 2019 Fellow defensive end Chris Smith was also absent from practice, but was excused for a personal reason. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Myles Garrett kept inside with illness during Day 18 of Browns camp," 20 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The people on the inside are going to keep coming up with these ridiculous excuses, like his arm was elongated or the photo was doctored. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Andrew's Accuser Virginia Giuffre Speaks Out: 'This Is a Story of Abuse'," 2 Dec. 2019 Sounds like a good excuse to warm up with some spirits at the White Owl in Logan, a great place for drinks in Utah State’s little college town. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Boise State at Utah State odds, picks and best bets," 22 Nov. 2019 With the weakening of the Ottoman Empire beginning in the 18th century, European powers gradually used coercion to secure rights for Christian minorities and used it as an excuse to intervene in domestic politics of the Ottoman Empire. Ramazan Kılınç, The Conversation, "Christians have lived in Turkey for two millennia – but their future is uncertain," 21 Nov. 2019 The findings provide a new, eco-friendly approach to recycling agricultural cast-offs—and a good excuse to get a second blender. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "The world’s best drink cooler may come from pineapple scraps," 29 Oct. 2019 Starting off a weekend filled with Halloween celebrations, the party captured what makes the holiday so irresistible: the excuse, even for one night, to be someone else. Vogue, "Artist Tali Lennox Celebrated the End of Her Show With a Dinner Evoking Weimar-Era Indulgence," 28 Oct. 2019 The excuses for the inequities between men and women’s college sports abound; ranging from lack of fan interest, revenue generation, talent, and more. Cecelia Townes, SELF, "Of Course College Athletes Should Be Paid," 24 Oct. 2019 There’s no excuse for having a performance like that. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Falcons give up too many big plays in 53-32 loss to Texans," 6 Oct. 2019 And critics say offsets can be an excuse for inaction. Wade Roush, Scientific American, "Aviation Is on a Low-Carbon Flight Path," 1 Oct. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for excuse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for excuse

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Excuse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excusably. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for excuse

excuse

verb
How to pronounce excuse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of excuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

noun
How to pronounce excuse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of excuse (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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

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)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on excuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for excuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with excuse

Spanish Central: Translation of excuse

Nglish: Translation of excuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excuse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on excuse

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