excuse

verb
ex·​cuse | \ik-ˈskyüz, 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 \

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 \ adjective
excusableness noun
excusably \ ik-​ˈskyü-​zə-​blē \ 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

The bill would also give a student's parent or legal guardian the opportunity to request that their child be excused from completing the survey prior to survey administration. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, NOLA.com, "State legislators eye bills aimed at revamping sex education," 4 Apr. 2018 Parents must be notified of the curriculum in advance, and have the option of excusing their children from all or part of the classes. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "Here's what a new California law says about teaching abortion in class," 14 June 2018 Any network that picked it up could therefore be accused of condoning — or at least excusing — her behavior. . Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "What happens to 'Roseanne'? Racist tweet likely Barrs revival elsewhere, even without her," 30 May 2018 Countries that accounted for about two-thirds of the steel and aluminum imported into the U.S. last year were excused from duties the Trump administration implemented on March 23. Bob Tita, WSJ, "Metal Buyers Race to Secure Supplies Ahead of Tariff Decision," 28 Apr. 2018 This isn’t to excuse Smith’s behavior, which has put others at risk more than a few times. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "The Decision to Pay Aaron Donald Now, 49ers Have a Decision on Reuben Foster, Richie Incognito’s Legacy," 13 Apr. 2018 They will be excused from class and will file into auditoriums for sessions on bullying. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, kansascity, "Should KC students participate in National School Walkout to protest gun violence?," 13 Mar. 2018 That was not intended to excuse the behavior, bur rather put it in context. Melody Gutierrez, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ex-Leland Yee aide engaged in sexual misconduct, state probe finds," 19 Apr. 2018 First, given the sensitive nature of the diversity and inclusion conversation at this moment in American history, good intentions aren’t enough to excuse negative impact. Nicholas Pearce, Fortune, "Commentary: Ram Probably Should’ve Read MLK's Whole Speech Before Using It in an Ad," 5 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There are no words for this disgusting excuse for a human being. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Hunter defends killing 'rare' black giraffe, says it was too old to breed," 2 July 2018 Abusive acts by the government have no more legitimacy or excuse than abusive acts by a parent. Oscar J. Benavidez, STAT, "Separating families at the border isn’t just bad policy — it’s horrible for children’s health," 19 June 2018 But that, plus the ongoing chase after Ghost, is just a gossamer excuse for Reed to construct action set pieces that play with scale in all sorts of inventive ways, and inject them with witty banter. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Ant-Man and the Wasp," 5 July 2018 There are still hotel rooms, but for those not staying overnight, the on-site Palm Room and Citrus Room offer lunch and dinner, and are a great excuse to check out the nearly 100-year-old hotel that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "52 excuses to visit Florida's Highlands County," 1 July 2018 But that was a good excuse to check out a British drugstore. Tiffany Dodson, SELF, "Here Are the Beauty Products I Packed for My First International Trip," 22 June 2018 Not unlike socialism in the 19th century and communism in the 20th, populism today is used not as a signal for necessary policy change but as a convenient excuse to dismiss social demands as incompatible with liberal democracy. Angelos Chryssogelos, Time, "The Populism Debate Ignores the Real Lessons of Italy's Political Crisis," 31 May 2018 For once, blaming the weather is a legitimate excuse for a retailer looking for a culprit for its disappointing sales results. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Home Depot Can Blame a Long Winter For a Rare Miss With Wall Street," 15 May 2018 Our countless beautiful sunsets, so there is always an excuse to have a sundowner, our classic gin and tonic cocktail. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Kenyan Cool Girl’s Guide to Nairobi," 2 July 2018

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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Statistics for excuse

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for excuse

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

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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.

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

verb
ex·​cuse | \ik-ˈskyüz \
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 \

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 \
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 \

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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