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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the weeks ahead, the university will start to excuse vaccinated students from mandatory coronavirus testing. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Josh joust, wing shortage, helping Canada: News from around our 50 states," 26 Apr. 2021 While a second season for The Falcon... excuse us... Nick Romano, EW.com, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," 23 Apr. 2021 The necklace seemed charmed (excuse the pun) from the start. Olivia Hosken, Town & Country, "This "I Think I Can" Pendant Necklace Benefits Dolly Parton's Charity," 10 Mar. 2021 If the Steelers have a down season derailed by injury, maybe – maybe – their fans excuse a 9-7 record and offer praise for how their team competed. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Paul Daugherty column: For the Cincinnati Bengals to simply 'compete' isn't enough anymore," 10 Mar. 2021 In the weeks ahead, the university will start to excuse vaccinated students from mandatory coronavirus testing. David Eggert, chicagotribune.com, "University of Michigan to require vaccinations to live on campus this fall," 23 Apr. 2021 And Justice Stephen Breyer seemed ready to excuse Congress' grammar and conclude they should be covered. Jessica Gresko, ajc, "High court seems ready to send virus funds to Alaska Natives," 19 Apr. 2021 To keep them happy, the industry has been willing to excuse most any behavior. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Hollywood loves making excuses for bullies. Here are some of the most damaging," 12 Apr. 2021 And, excuse the pun, Miami turned up the heat defensively against the Trail Blazers. Larry Starks, USA TODAY, "Pelicans' Zion Williamson, who is 6-foot-7, says playing point guard 'feels natural'," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The range of pretty bras and underwear makes for the perfect excuse to upgrade your lingerie drawer. Rachel Besser, Vogue, "The New Arrivals On our Radar This Week," 21 Apr. 2021 The chip shortage gave Samsung the perfect excuse the skip a Note update this year, and the entire series might be scrapped in favor of foldables. Chris Smith, BGR, "Leaker says more phones are getting this exciting new Galaxy Z Fold 3 feature," 19 Apr. 2021 And the excuse that one is eschewing social life in favor of safety will fortunately, or unfortunately, be valid for a long time to come. Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Must I resume hectic in-law visits after the pandemic?," 16 Apr. 2021 Ultimately, the pandemic has enabled organizations to acquire talent that happens to be diverse by dropping the classic excuse of the past — that organizations simply could not find locally diverse talent. Curtis Odom, Forbes, "A Pandemic End To A Sad Excuse: When Finding Diverse Talent Went Virtual," 12 Apr. 2021 The injury excuse would be viable, if the Bengals were significantly better before the injuries than after. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: 10 things from Cincinnati Bengals' loss to New York Giants," 4 Apr. 2021 There are even web tools, like Zoom Escaper, that allow users to self-sabotage their call, giving them the perfect excuse to leave their virtual meeting. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Is it time to turn our cameras off at work? The reality of Zoom fatigue and how to combat it," 22 Mar. 2021 Those contrasting skill sets provide the easiest excuse to institute a time share. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Should Ohio State football try a two-quarterback strategy to open the 2021 season?," 15 Mar. 2021 Democrats don’t even have the excuse that getting rid of Cuomo would cost them an important office. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Democrats should disown Gov. Andrew Cuomo," 3 Mar. 2021

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

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Excuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excuse. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for excuse

excuse

verb

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

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
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

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Comments on excuse

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