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

When the show actually aired and the cast and staff and writers all watched it together… Tony Hale had to excuse himself and go to the bathroom [laughs] and weep a little bit more,. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "Julia Louis-Dreyfus calls Emmy nods for final Veep season ‘supremely satisfying’," 16 July 2019 Legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Mike Parson will allow anyone age 75 or older to ask a court to be excused from jury duty. USA TODAY, "Crystal Cathedral reborn Catholic, 'Conjuring' house, Wiki ‘editathon’: News from around our 50 states," 11 July 2019 Unless there’s some backstory here that would excuse your husband of any moral debt to his sister or to the people who raised him, his dismissiveness betrays an utter failure of character. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: His thoughtlessness about elder care is alarming. But there’s more.," 8 July 2019 Unless there’s some backstory here that would excuse your husband of any moral debt to his sister or to the people who raised him, his dismissiveness betrays an utter failure of character. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Husband thinks elderly parents’ care is not his problem," 7 July 2019 Unless there’s some backstory here that would excuse your husband of any moral debt to his sister or to the people who raised him, his dismissiveness betrays an utter failure of character. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: She’s at the end of her rope with the parents, and he says it’s ‘not his problem’," 7 July 2019 Unless there’s some backstory here that would excuse your husband of any moral debt to his sister or to the people who raised him, his dismissiveness betrays an utter failure of character. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive.com, "Carolyn Hax: Husband’s responsibility shirking may come back to haunt wife," 6 July 2019 Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson excused three jurors Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in the trial of Derick Almena and Max Harris on the 10th day of deliberations. Washington Post, "Jury to restart deliberations in Oakland warehouse fire case," 19 Aug. 2019 But some people excuse their food commentary as sharing their personal preferences. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "It's Time to Stop Commenting on Your Coworker's Lunch," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

New clothes are great for all those reasons — as well as for the option of pairing them with beloved older pieces already in my wardrobe, as an excuse to wear those pieces one more time. Longreads, "My Love Affair with Chairs," 13 Sep. 2019 Although Liliom refuses to change, Mr. Mundruczo suggests, Julie has learned to stop making excuses for his brutality. New York Times, "20th-Century Rogues’ Gallery Gets a Modern Twist," 12 Sep. 2019 Just Take Me: No one puts you in a position to make excuses or come up with reasons. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Instead of saying ‘None of your business,’ try ‘None of my business’," 11 Sep. 2019 Just Take Me No one puts you in a position to make excuses or come up with reasons. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive, "Carolyn Hax: ‘I don’t know’ perfectly good answer to questions about newlywed’s baby plans," 11 Sep. 2019 Decision-makers must stop making excuses about why productions can’t be more inclusive (and refusing to accept that one film in production is sufficient). Stacy L. Smith, Time, "Hollywood Has the Power to Combat Damaging Stereotypes About Latinos. Here's Proof That It's Utterly Failing," 27 Aug. 2019 The next stage in the weaponisation of information is the increasing effort to control information flows and therefore public opinion, quite often using – ironically enough – the spectre of disinformation as the excuse to do so. Casey Newton, The Verge, "China is the latest superpower to get caught waging a disinformation campaign on Twitter," 20 Aug. 2019 Cox believes Reback wanted to use Diveroli’s book—which was published a few months before War Dogs came out—as an excuse to file copyright-infringement lawsuits, hoping for a hefty settlement from the production company. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "The True-Crime Writer in Cellblock B4," 16 July 2019 That means the list of excuses for sticking with traditional fossil fuels is looking pretty thin. CNN Underscored, "Arcadia Power is making renewable energy more accessible and affordable," 28 June 2019

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 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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