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 bearded lefthander entered the dugout and excused himself for a walk through the tunnel. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Alex Bregman delivers another walkoff win for Astros," 27 June 2018 In the note, one of the jurors asked to be excused because she isn't conversant in English. Nathan Fenno, latimes.com, "Judge comes close to declaring mistrial in Todd McNair's defamation trial against NCAA; juror is replaced," 18 May 2018 Bracamontes asked to be excused from the beginning of the trial Monday. Sam Stanton, sacbee, "'A little unnerving.' Cop killer threatens officers taking him to death penalty trial | The Sacramento Bee," 5 Mar. 2018 Current law makes lawmakers publicly self-report possible conflicts and ask to be excused from voting on the issue. Anchorage Daily News, "Ballot initiative sounds good, but devil’s in the details," 21 Feb. 2018 Officials also confirmed that Lubitz had torn up a doctor's note that excused him from work on the day of the crash. Thomas Houston, Popular Mechanics, "Germanwings Co-pilot Accelerated Plane Before Crash," 24 Mar. 2015 And since then, various teams have filled in the theoretical rationale to excuse Falkovich’s lucky shortcut. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres," 7 July 2018 None of this is to excuse Trump’s various misdeeds in any way. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Donald Trump, the resistance, and the limits of normcore politics," 3 July 2018 In one episode, Lord Grantham excuses the homosexual behavior of his footman, Thomas, saying such incidents happened regular when Lord Grantham attended Eton, a private school. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of “A Very English Scandal” and the Trials of a Closeted Gay Politician," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And 600-square-foot Dopolavoro, a retail venture from Terroni restaurant next door, gives the DTLA set an excuse to shop like Europeans. Karen Palmer, Los Angeles Magazine, "These Small, Local Grocers Are Changing the Way L.A. Shops for Food," 14 May 2018 The other six Netflix originals can’t make that excuse, and to a one their codas implode. Jason Kehe, WIRED, "Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home," 9 July 2018 Today, the tradition has morphed into a simple excuse for children to get dressed up and ask for candy. 3. Lauren Smith, Good Housekeeping, "18 Fascinating Things You Didn't Know About Halloween," 7 July 2018 The Trump administration has offered a variety of excuses and explanations for the decision to separate children from families seeking to enter the country. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Gilead in America," 20 June 2018 That is a poor, disgusting, obnoxious excuse for taking advantage of his position of power to exploit the women that work for him. refinery29.com, "Sweetbitter Episode 6: Careful What You Wish For," 11 June 2018 Didn’t think about excuses, or expectations, or any of that. Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell explained why he was so disappointed after playoffs," 29 May 2018 Wall Street was not convinced by the excuse, all the more since rivals Macy’s (m, +1.59%) and Kohl’s (kss, +0.44%) reported far better results for the period. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "J.C. Penney CEO Jumps Ship For Lowe's, Igniting New Crisis for the Department Store," 22 May 2018 Another excuse to touch Macron, who is handsome in a nerdy accountant kind of way? Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Donald Trump Rudely Called Out Emmanuel Macron’s ‘Dandruff’," 24 Apr. 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

12 Sep 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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