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 None of this is meant to excuse the open-air drug trade, or the hundreds living on the street in the city with the highest density of billionaires in the world. Ryan Kost, SFChronicle.com, "Hope is alive in the Tenderloin: What the neighborhood needs now to reverse decades of neglect," 12 July 2020 Some researchers see the concept as a way to excuse racist attitudes. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "What is statistical discrimination?," 10 July 2020 Schaaf condemned the incidents on Twitter, saying the city will not tolerate having symbols of racial injustice and reports that they were meant for exercise don't excuse their connotation. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Man claims 'nooses' found in park are exercise equipment after city launches hate crime investigation," 18 June 2020 This created an uneasy status quo which persists today, where neither side quite agrees on the border, both regularly accuse the other of overstepping it or seeking to expand their territory, and excuse for conflict is easy to come by. James Griffiths, CNN, "Why are China and India fighting over an inhospitable strip of the Himalayas?," 17 June 2020 Mond's statement reminded its readers of these specific instances and noted that his role in building the university does not excuse that. Aria Gerson, USA TODAY, "Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond wants controversial statue removed: 'Let's not forget Sully'," 17 June 2020 State law has very few reasons to excuse a person from jury service. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Called up for jury duty? Here's what it will be like under COVID-19," 12 June 2020 But even that argument does not excuse discrimination at America’s most respected firms. The Economist, "Business and race in America Bosses say they want to tackle racial injustice," 11 June 2020 Republicans excuse this behavior as Trump being Trump, but that will only embolden voters who seek greater accountability to choose further change over stability. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "He Is Even Dumber Than We Thought," 8 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fu dismissed claims that there was a rapid escalation of China's nuclear missile capabilities and accused the US of trying to use China as an excuse to shirk their treaty commitments. Ben Westcott, CNN, "China says it won't join nuclear talks until the US reduces its arsenal," 8 July 2020 Ohio has had no-excuse absentee voting – meaning voters don’t have to provide a reason for requesting an absentee ballot – for about two decades, with big portions of that period overseen by Republican rule in statewide offices. Rick Rouan, Cincinnati.com, "Widespread voter fraud not a problem in Ohio," 1 June 2020 Failure of technological imagination is no longer an excuse. Lucy Lang, Wired, "Virtual Criminal Justice May Make the System More Equitable," 1 July 2020 One, that’s very likely untrue and two, ignorance is not an excuse. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: This MLB season will purely be about entertainment," 29 June 2020 In several of the 16 states where voters must provide an excuse to receive an absentee ballot – being over 65 years old, out of town during Election Day or in the military, for example – concerns about coronavirus now qualify as a reason. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "No presidential winner on election night? Mail-in ballots could put outcome in doubt for weeks," 28 June 2020 Voters filed a lawsuit demanding no-excuse absentee voting during the general election. Rachel Glickhouse, ProPublica, "Electionland 2020: Kentucky and New York Vote, Trump on Mail Voting, COVID Impacts and more," 26 June 2020 Hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians mailed in their ballots for the primary election, following changes state officials made that permitted no-excuse absentee voting because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Jefferson County reports some vote totals, putting Charles Booker ahead of Amy McGrath," 25 June 2020 There is no excuse for a person in my position to handle themselves in public that way. oregonlive, "Chef John Gorham steps away from most Toro Bravo Inc. restaurants," 24 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for excuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of excuse was in the 13th century

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Statistics for excuse

Last Updated

19 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Excuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excuse. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for excuse

excuse

verb
How to pronounce excuse (audio)

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
How to pronounce excuse (audio)

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

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)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for excuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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