par·​don | \ ˈpär-dᵊn How to pronounce pardon (audio) \

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 How to pronounce pardon (audio) , 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for pardon

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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

Noun The governor granted him a pardon. He asked my pardon for taking so much of my time. Verb 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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The court at the time said that his convictions amounted to crimes against humanity, which his opponents say should bar him from receiving any kind of pardon. New York Times, 17 Mar. 2022 In a separate vote Wednesday, the pardon and parole board voted 3-2 to recommend clemency to another death row inmate, Bigler Stouffer, citing concerns with the state’s lethal injection protocols. NBC News, 18 Nov. 2021 The pardon and parole board first recommended commuting Jones' sentence in September, but a week later, his execution date was set, which triggered Monday's clemency hearing. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 1 Nov. 2021 Kent, who has long been insistent of Levinson's whereabouts, though Levinson is presumed dead, would then either have made an investigation into Gaetz disappear or secure a pardon from President Joe Biden. Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner, 5 Apr. 2021 And 2012 saw his extradition, pardon, and promotion of an unremorseful Azerbaijani officer who had killed his sleeping Armenian classmate at a NATO training in Hungary. Simon Maghakyan, Time, 4 Apr. 2022 Bevin's most controversial clemency orders included a pardon for Micah Schoettle, convicted of raping a 9-year old girl, as well as two others convicted of violent crimes that federal prosecutors indicted and convicted again. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 16 Feb. 2022 The following day, The Times reported in its Jan. 22, 1977, edition that around 10,000 people were affected by the pardon, including 1,800 who were fugitives (the majority of those had fled to Canada). Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan. 2022 The pardon, supported by Gucci Mane, Lil Pump and Lil Yachty, noted Kodak’s philanthropic endeavors, including regularly handing out school supplies and food to Florida residents in need. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 20 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the days leading up to the final pardons, there was rampant speculation that Trump might pardon family members or even himself. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, 20 Jan. 2021 Biggs, the panel said, was also part of discussions for Trump to pardon people charged with trying to overturn the election. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 2 May 2022 President Biden used his power to pardon federal offenders for the first time on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. Grayson Quay, The Week, 26 Apr. 2022 Greg Lopez, a former mayor of a Denver suburb, was the top vote-getter for the party's gubernatorial nomination after promising to pardon Peters if he were elected governor. Nicholas Riccardi, ajc, 10 Apr. 2022 On International Women’s Day in 2020, the two launched a campaign called Witches of Scotland, which pushed for the Scottish Parliament to pardon and memorialize the accused. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2022 To pardon the pun, at the start there won't be any excess of XeSS. Chris Stobing, PCMAG, 30 Mar. 2022 At the same time, the steady stream (pardon the pun) of emails in my inbox on Tuesday showed ample interest in streaming too, both among cord-cutters and people who have cable but want more. Brian Stelter, CNN, 30 Mar. 2022 Our annual Critics’ Choice Food Awards are back and (pardon the hubris) better than ever., 2 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pardon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pardon


par·​don | \ ˈpär-dᵊn How to pronounce pardon (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pardon

Nglish: Translation of pardon for Spanish Speakers

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


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