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

Calling out white women’s continued support of conservative politicians isn’t excusing or ignoring white men’s commitment to electing these candidates. Treva B. Lindsey, Vox, "The betrayal of white women voters: in pivotal state races, they still backed the GOP," 9 Nov. 2018 Please note that all costs are estimates, and excuse the TV advertisement speech, but prices may vary. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "So you want to enter the Indy 500?," 24 May 2018 Well, excuse me, but the only person who is actually forcing America and the world to eat their carrots is President Trump. Fox News, "Rep. Ron DeSantis on the fight to get info from the DOJ," 6 Apr. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All this is to say, there is really no excuse for not making efforts to rethink production and products in more sustainable ways. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "11 Reasons to Be Excited About The Year in Fashion," 4 Jan. 2019 For another, most of the episodes in this young 22nd season (which began at the end of September) have been excuses for the kids to go on weird journeys. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "12 years after mocking Al Gore’s fight against climate change, South Park reconsiders," 14 Nov. 2018 That's not an excuse for limiting the charging speed, though. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "DRM for chargers? Google Pixel 3 locks fast Qi charging to certified chargers [Update]," 23 Oct. 2018 But coach Zlatko Dalic said there would be no excuses despite their exertions. John Weaver, chicagotribune.com, "France seek World Cup glory inspired by Euro 2016 heartbrake," 13 July 2018 More: Councilman gets more time to fix campaign finance reports Pastor appears to be stalling and full of excuses. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Time's up for Jeff Pastor's campaign finance report. Is an investigation coming?," 11 July 2018 There are no more excuses for Mr. Jones to hide behind. Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, "Lawyers for Neo-Nazi to Defend Alex Jones in Sandy Hook Case," 2 July 2018 For whatever reason, silverware or even advancing to the latter stages of a tournament was always beyond them, but there's no excuses in terms of players at their disposal. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 3 Weeks to Go - Ranking the Best 'Golden Generations' at the 2006 Tournament," 4 June 2018 But Tobias said that's no excuse for the White House. Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "For U.S. attorney in New Orleans, and 28 other districts, still no Trump nominee," 9 May 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

28 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 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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