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

The bill passed in a 26 to 0 vote, with three lawmakers excused. oregonlive.com, "Oregon Senate passes bias crime bill," 13 June 2019 This isn’t my way of excusing the manner in which the U.S. team comported itself during the late stages of the most lopsided game in the history of the World Cup. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: U.S. women's World Cup team sparks debate about sportsmanship that's a few decades too late," 13 June 2019 Some were vehemently disappointed over her villainous turn, some remained fiercely loyal and excused her acts of violence, others believed her storyline hinted at tyranny all along, and legions blamed writers for the seemingly unfounded plot twist. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Emilia Clarke Was "Flabbergasted" by Daenerys Targaryen's Ending in Game of Thrones Season 8," 21 May 2019 This is a lesson for U.S. Democrats tempted to excuse anti-Semitism in their ranks as over-enthusiastic political opposition to Israeli policies from neophyte politicians. The Editorial Page, WSJ, "A Lesson in Anti-Semitism," 14 Feb. 2019 But raising your voice against what is happening now does not require excusing what came before. Nestor Ramos, BostonGlobe.com, "Wails of children is the sound of zero tolerance," 19 June 2018 The Reds did not pay state sales or use taxes on these items, citing an exemption that excuses sales and use tax when items are purchased specifically to be resold. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds argue in front of Ohio Supreme Court: No taxes on Reds bobbleheads," 13 June 2018 Bateman appeared to be trying to excuse or condone Tambor's behavior during the incident. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Arrested Development," 24 May 2018 The hard lesson many Democrats took from that experience is that if voters believe Trump is fighting for them, even some of those uneasy about his volatile personal behavior will excuse or at least accept it. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "The connection that may decide 2018 isn't what you think," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There's never been a better excuse to wear as many colors as possible than at Pride March. Seventeen, "How to Prep For Your First Pride Parade," 14 June 2019 But, hey, Christmas in July is around the corner, which seems like a good excuse as any to bust out some Christmas recipes that do double duty as a year-round delight. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "This Panettone French Toast Recipe Is Perfect for a Christmas in July Party," 14 June 2019 It’s hard to fathom now when Super Bowl Sunday is a bigger excuse to party in the United States than the Fourth of July. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Nobody ran harder in pursuit of Broncos’ excellence than franchise owner Pat Bowlen," 14 June 2019 Despite never coming true, predictions of impending resource exhaustion remain a great, recyclable excuse for massive government intervention. George Will, National Review, "The Scarcity Scam," 13 June 2019 Luckily, the flowers have not bloomed yet, but there isn't much time left for those of you that are determined to make this your next weekend getaway (because who isn't looking for a good excuse to go to France?!). Tainaya Nash, House Beautiful, "Province's Lavender Fields are About to Bloom, So Book Your Trip Now," 12 June 2019 According to Reddit user KlaireOverwood, the writers just need to come up with a quick excuse and be done with it — like what the series did back in the first season to address Michelle Tanner's absence. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "What'll Happen to Lori Loughlin's 'Fuller House' Character, Aunt Becky? Here's the Most Solid Theory," 6 June 2019 The advent of Western philosophy is a great excuse to get out a scroll and start journaling! Graham Techler, The New Yorker, "Self-Care Through the Ages," 5 June 2019 The weather was perfect, the sun was still up, and the opening provided a good excuse for a rosé enjoyed al fresco—‘tis the season, after all. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Head to the Spring on Bleecker Pop-Up Shop Before Summer Arrives," 9 May 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

20 Jun 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

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