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

However, sexist double standards mean that women may pay a price for behaviors which are excused, even rewarded, in men. Jessica Wakeman, Glamour, "Men Who Scream at Work Aren't "Passionate." They're Abusive.," 4 Sep. 2018 Perhaps any one of the above-referenced errors, viewed in isolation, could be excused under the good-faith exception. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Judge slams FBI for improper cellphone search, stingray use," 18 July 2018 Penny invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination six times before he was excused by the panel. CBS News, "Former USA Gymnastics president invokes the Fifth at Senate hearing," 5 June 2018 The shooting took place just after 9 a.m. in a science classroom, where police said a student excused himself and returned with two handguns. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Noblesville shooting victim stable, faces long road to recovery," 4 June 2018 The Rams said Kelly was excused from Monday's and Tuesday's practices but had no further comment. Gary Klein, latimes.com, "Rams rookie John Kelly receives diversion sentence in Tennessee for marijuana charge," 22 May 2018 Those justifications do not excuse the current situation. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "If You're Defending Tear Gassing Children, You're a Horrible Person," 28 Nov. 2018 At one point during dinner on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, Junior, who has accompanied his father to Dubai, excuses himself to take a business call. SI.com, "Exiled by the Cubs, Sammy Sosa Is Enjoying the Life He Wants You to See," 27 June 2018 Aiken excused herself for about 10 minutes before returning to the bench to issue her sentence. Samantha Swindler, OregonLive.com, "Homicide detectives investigating suspicious death in NE Portland," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The stakes will always be enormous; time will always be short; there will never be an excuse to stop fighting. David Roberts, Vox, "The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change," 29 Jan. 2019 Normally $900, true adventurers can pay just $700 in the PopMech Shop, leaving you with zero excuses to not hit the road. Popular Mechanics, "Get Ready to Ride This Spring with These Affordable Bikes," 23 Jan. 2019 There's no valid excuse for the current level of inequality in festival booking and there's never been one. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Is Only the Fourth Woman Ever to Headline Coachella," 3 Jan. 2019 For us, Fortnite is an excuse to talk on the phone. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Fortnite was 2018’s most important social network," 21 Dec. 2018 Wilson did not use the seal of the confession as an excuse for failing to acting on allegations against Fletcher. Rod Mcguirk, USA TODAY, "Australian bishop sentenced to year’s detention for child sex abuse cover-up," 2 July 2018 Mr Trump accused it of using tariffs as an excuse to move jobs outside America. The Economist, "Business this week," 28 June 2018 Sometimes the namesake food is, well, mostly an excuse to throw a big town party. Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "6 food festivals that offer a glimpse of Wisconsin specialties and local culture," 6 June 2018 That’s not an excuse to stop believing in scientific conclusions. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Man Who Says Science Blew Its Best Shot at an AIDS Vaccine," 1 June 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

14 Feb 2019

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.
: 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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More from Merriam-Webster on excuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with excuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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