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

Giuliani was responding specifically to Manafort's bail being revoked, but there's speculation that pardon-happy Trump might be trying to signal to potential witnesses in the Mueller probe not to turn on him. Luke Darby, GQ, "Even Randos on the Street Know Michael Cohen's in Trouble," 16 June 2018 But Mr Salvini appears to have believed a rumour that the increase was due to an amnesty (in reality, an annual pardon that led to the release of only around 400 prisoners). The Economist, "Italy’s new government wants to deport 500,000 people," 7 June 2018 President Trump is considering a pardon of lifestyle maven Martha Stewart, who was investigated for insider trading and convicted of conspiracy, obstruction, and making false statements to investigators years ago. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Samantha Bee Boycott, Martha Stewart Pardon, and Board Diversity Excuses: Broadsheet for June 1," 1 June 2018 Daigle pursued lines of communication with Obama administration officials, who had been approached about a pardon for Saucier, and then with those working for Trump. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "NY state suspends license of lawyer for ex-sailor suing Comey, Obama," 25 June 2018 Three-quarters of Republicans say a president should not self-pardon if charged with a crime, while 56 percent say Congress should impeach a president who did so. Steve Peoples,, "Poll finds Americans oppose presidential self-pardons," 22 June 2018 Three-quarters of Republicans say a president should not self-pardon if charged with a crime, while 56 percent say Congress should impeach a president who did so. The Christian Science Monitor, "Republicans and Democrats agree: presidents should not self-pardon," 22 June 2018 The president can implement these changes with his pardon power and other executive decisions. Jonas Shaffer,, "In op-ed, ex-Ravens Anquan Boldin, Benjamin Watson urge Trump to address systemic injustice," 21 June 2018 Self-pardon would cause alarm, concern Pardoning himself would spark a strong reaction from Americans. Susan Page And Merdie Nzanga, USA TODAY, "Poll: Pardon me? Most say Trump should be impeached if he pardons himself," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His sentence was commuted to time served in 1921 by President Harding and he was released from jail, but he was never pardoned. Time Staff, Time, "President Trump Is Looking for Suggestions for Pardons. So We Asked 7 Historians for Their Thoughts," 21 June 2018 Kardashian West was the first person to call Johnson with the good news that she had been pardoned and could go home. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Kim Kardashian Meets Alice Johnson for the First Time in Emotional Interview," 14 June 2018 The disgraced former mayor's appeal comes as Trump has pardoned conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza and commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, a woman serving a life sentence for drug charges. Aaron Pellish, CNN, "Disgraced ex-Detroit mayor asks Trump for clemency," 13 June 2018 After recently granting a pardon and considering at least two more, President Donald Trump should also consider pardoning former CIA director and U.S. Army general David Petraeus, a U.S. senator said. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Trump should consider pardoning ex-CIA boss Petraeus, senator says," 8 June 2018 Greitens also pardoned five people and commuted four sentences. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "‘Time for Missouri to come together’: Mike Parson takes oath as state’s governor," 1 June 2018 Mahathir, 92, promised during the campaign to stand aside for Anwar once he was pardoned but is now pushing back the potential timeline by a matter of years. Anuradha Raghu,, "Malaysia's Anwar Pardoned, Paving Way for Return to Politics," 16 May 2018 In 2009 Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, pardoned and released two American detainees when former President Bill Clinton paid a visit to Pyongyang as part of a high level U.S. delegation sanctioned by the Obama administration. Jim Michaels, USA TODAY, "Trump would not be first president to secure release of American prisoners in North Korea," 3 May 2018 He was soon jailed on corruption charges, then pardoned and released. The Economist, "Kazakhstan’s government squelches the least hint of dissent," 26 Apr. 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

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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