par·​don | \ ˈpär-dᵊn \

Definition of pardon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty offered a pardon to the draft evader
3a : a release from the legal penalties of an offense
b : an official warrant of remission of penalty a royal pardon later released him from a death sentenceAmerican Guide Series: Maryland
4 : excuse or forgiveness for a fault, offense, or discourtesy I beg your pardon She asked my pardon for taking up so much of my time.


pardoned; pardoning\ ˈpärd-​niŋ , ˈpär-​dᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of pardon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to absolve from the consequences of a fault or crime
b : to allow (an offense) to pass without punishment : forgive
c : to relieve of a penalty improperly assessed
2 : tolerate

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Synonyms & Antonyms for pardon

Synonyms: Noun

absolution, amnesty, forgiveness, remission, remittal

Synonyms: Verb


Antonyms: Noun

penalty, punishment, retribution

Antonyms: Verb


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Choose the Right Synonym for pardon


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

Examples of pardon in a Sentence


The governor granted him a pardon. He asked my pardon for taking so much of my time.


he eventually pardoned his sister for interfering in his marriage I'm willing to pardon a little sloppiness of dress in such a kind and loving person.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Brown, who has issued far more pardons than any modern predecessor in California, must confront two central questions: How sure does the state have to be to put a man to death? Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: Gov. Brown's life-or-death decision," 9 July 2018 Bevin, however, has issued occasional pardons – including 10 a year ago during the week of the Fourth of July. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin pardons 11 who have paid 'required debt to society'," 6 July 2018 The players, who represent the Players Coalition advocacy group, outlined some steps the president could take that would be far more powerful than issuing a few pardons. Rick Maese,, "Donald Trump asked NFL players for pardon suggestions. On Thursday, they responded.," 21 June 2018 The president has not issued pardons in this investigation. Karoun Demirjian,, "Giuliani suggests Trump may pardon Manafort after Mueller’s probe," 18 June 2018 Trump has issued five pardons since taking office, and Wednesday's move is the second act of clemency granted by Trump after a celebrity appealed to him. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, "Trump commutes sentence of Alice Marie Johnson," 6 June 2018 The president has charted new ground in issuing pardons outside of the traditional vetting process, including one last month for the late boxer Jack Johnson. Fortune, "Trump Says He Has 'Absolute Right' to Pardon Himself as Mueller Standoff Drags On," 4 June 2018 Legal analysts said that as the head of the executive branch, Trump could issue pardons, fire senior officials or order them to shut down investigations. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Cops are called when a senator tries to see kids taken from their immigrant parents," 4 June 2018 Trump has issued two unrelated pardons in recent days and discussed others, a move that has been interpreted as a possible signal to allies ensnared in the Russia probe. Jonathan Lemire, The Seattle Times, "Giuliani plays down idea of Trump self-pardon," 3 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Associated Press reports a president cannot pardon anyone if he under impeachment. William Axford, Houston Chronicle, "Sen. Ted Cruz goes on a Twitter rant after being asked if the president can pardon himself," 5 June 2018 For the President to pardon himself would be a constitutional crisis. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky professor: Trump pardoning himself a 'constitutional crisis'," 4 June 2018 Six years later, then President Jimmy Carter pardoned every objector who declined the draft. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Donald Trump is wooing black voters and killing the Democratic party," 8 June 2018 Days later, Mr Kuczynski pardoned Mr Fujimori’s father, Alberto, a former president who was serving a 25-year jail sentence for human-rights violations. The Economist, "The short unhappy presidency of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski," 22 Mar. 2018 The White House held an online contest to determine which bird should be pardoned. Darlene Superville, The Seattle Times, "Trump grants poultry pardons to turkeys Peas and Carrots," 20 Nov. 2018 And as late as this year, Stone was trying to get Trump to pardon Assange. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Robert Mueller sure still is interested in Roger Stone," 2 Nov. 2018 The White House has denied a report claiming that a lawyer for President Trump raised the prospect of pardoning former advisers Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort as the FBI special counsel was building cases against them. Fox News, "White House: No pardons under consideration for Manafort, Flynn," 2 Oct. 2018 By pardoning the Johnsons, Trump ramped up his efforts to woo black voters. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Donald Trump is wooing black voters and killing the Democratic party," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pardon.' 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 pardon


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pardon


Middle English, from Anglo-French pardun, pardoun, from parduner


Middle English, from Anglo-French parduner, from Late Latin perdonare to grant freely, from Latin per- thoroughly + donare to give — more at parboil, donation

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Statistics for pardon

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for pardon

The first known use of pardon was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pardon



English Language Learners Definition of pardon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an act of officially saying that someone who was judged to be guilty of a crime will be allowed to go free and will not be punished

: forgiveness for something



English Language Learners Definition of pardon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to officially say that someone who is guilty of a crime will be allowed to go free and will not be punished

: to say that someone should not be blamed for thinking, doing, or saying something

: to officially say that a person, country, etc., does not have to pay (a debt)


par·​don | \ ˈpär-dᵊn \

Kids Definition of pardon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : forgiveness for wrong or rude behavior
2 : the act of freeing from legal punishment


pardoned; pardoning

Kids Definition of pardon (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to free from penalty for a fault or crime The prisoner was eventually pardoned.
2 : to allow (a wrong act) to pass without punishment : forgive



Legal Definition of pardon

1 : a release from the legal penalties of an offense
2 : an official warrant of remission of penalty as an act of clemency — compare commute
3 : excuse or forgiveness for a fault or offense

Other Words from pardon

pardon transitive verb

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More from Merriam-Webster on pardon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pardon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pardon

Spanish Central: Translation of pardon

Nglish: Translation of pardon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pardon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pardon

Comments on pardon

What made you want to look up pardon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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