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

So far, the public and federal workers have largely been spared inconvenience and hardship because government is closed on weekends and federal employees were excused from work on Christmas Eve and Christmas, a federal holiday. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Post-holiday, partial government shutdown to gain impact," 25 Dec. 2018 View this post on Instagram Please excuse Miley’s foul language. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Liam Hemsworth Scared Miley Cyrus in the Car Again While She Was Putting on Her Lipstick," 21 Sep. 2018 Abdelwahed Saadi, a social worker and neighbor of the teen's family, said no circumstances could excuse the alleged assault. Fox News, "Harrowing account of tortured teen sparks outcry in Morocco," 30 Aug. 2018 Focusing on Defense World Cup teams usually have one or two players who are mostly excused from defensive duties: a striker, a playmaker. The Associated Press, New York Times, "Sweden Makes World Cup Quarterfinals for First Time Since 1994," 5 July 2018 Memo to bosses across the Delaware Valley: Please excuse all Phillies-fan employees for being a bit bleary-eyed this morning. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Nationals series shows why Phillies can't stand pat before trade deadline | Extra Innings," 25 June 2018 During the games, national team coaches will send out forms excusing fans from work ; and wise managers (including news editors) would be fools to expect too much. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "World Cup 2018 prediction: Mexico wins, Trump pays for the cake.," 12 June 2018 Jourdan Lewis’ first sponsored football camp was so important to him that the Dallas Cowboys excused the former Michigan football All-American defensive back from part of the team’s organized team activities. Perry A. Farrell, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football: Jourdan Lewis enjoys chance to give back with camp," 28 May 2018 By then, even the most patient reader may be excused for being exhausted from all the bleak moodiness that preceded it. Maureen Corrigan, The Seattle Times, "Fans of Tana French are in for a surprise with ‘The Witch Elm’," 23 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While there’s never an excuse not to buy a bottle of wine, the average price of a red ($15.66) can give you pause. Samantha Leac, Glamour, "Here’s What $10,000 Actually Looks Like," 9 Apr. 2019 Whole30 dictates 30 full days without any of these products, no excuses. Gray Chapman, SELF, "A Nightmare About Nachos Made Me Realize That Dieting Was Causing Me Food Anxiety," 27 Mar. 2019 Meanwhile, a former human resources manager with Planned Parenthood told the Times that doctors’ notes were seen as excuses by pregnant employees for working less. Anna North, Vox, "Planned Parenthood is facing criticism for its treatment of pregnant workers," 21 Dec. 2018 At least five of the chamber's 98 legislators won't be in Columbus for Wednesday's meeting because of vacation or other excuses. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "After FBI probe, GOP fight & lawmaking backlog, Ohio House might finally pick new speaker," 5 June 2018 Fashion is an excuse to play, create, collaborate, and is accessible to a broader audience. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "“It’s Called Ffasiwn” Is a Photography Exhibition That Challenges Assumptions About Status and Style," 25 Mar. 2019 This frame of mind provides lawmakers with an excuse to continue their addiction to lavish spending. WSJ, "The Pentagon Must Spend Its Money Better, Not Just More of It," 20 Mar. 2019 But hey, not so fast—that doesn't give you an excuse to go SPF-free! Lyndsay Green, Teen Vogue, "QUIZ: What is My Skin Type: Dry? Acne-Prone? Oily? Find Out Now," 14 Mar. 2019 The Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival was a perfect excuse to get to Hilton Head Island for a quick getaway. Matt Hranek, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hilton Head Island, Revisited," 19 Nov. 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

11 Apr 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 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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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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