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 pardoning (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

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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

The, just before Thanksgiving, the outgoing governor said Burnett was among 38 people receiving pardons. Juliet Linderman, The Seattle Times, "California man gets word of pardon after fire destroys home," 27 Nov. 2018 World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman looked around the Oval Office on Thursday and was shaken by the moment of late heavyweight champion Jack Johnson finally receiving his full presidential pardon. Lance Pugmire,, "Jack Johnson's presidential pardon 'a victory for humanity,' WBC president Sulaiman says," 24 May 2018 Weinberger, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of defense during the Iran-Contra scandal, was one of six officials who received pardons from Bush in 1991 that short-circuited an independent-counsel probe. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "What Happened to Alan Dershowitz?," 23 Apr. 2018 In her application to the court, Mukherjea prays for pardon in the case in exchange of full and true disclosure. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "A timeline of key events that led to the arrest of India’s former finance minister," 22 Aug. 2019 After his return to Alabama, Vincent served five years in prison before receiving a pardon from Alabama Gov. Thomas Goode Jones. al, "Alabama treasurer ‘Honest Ike’ stole $200,000 and fled the state in 1883," 7 Aug. 2019 Supreme Court may have weakened Trump’s pardon power A Supreme Court ruling could have major implications for prosecutions related to the Russian election meddling scandal. Kirkpatrick Bado, USA TODAY, "Heiress lived life 'on her own terms'," 17 June 2019 The president’s pardon power doesn’t extend to state charges. Mark Sherman,, "Supreme Court upholds rule allowing state, federal charges for same crime," 17 June 2019 The South Carolina Republican also had a warning for Trump using his pardon power to help those who were ensnared by Mueller’s investigation. Mary Clare Jalonick, The Seattle Times, "Democrats ask for Mueller files; GOP exclaims ‘Move on’," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Williams-Bolar’s case propelled her to a spot on the Dr. Phil show, and after the Ohio parole board declined to pardon her crime, then-Gov. Jeff Truesdell,, "Ohio Mom Imprisoned for Falsifying Kids' School District Speaks Out on Felicity Huffman's Sentence," 16 Sep. 2019 The agent, Kim Hyon Hui, was initially sentenced to death but was pardoned soon after. Washington Post, "Kidnapped by North Korea in 1978, this Japanese man is telling his tale," 12 Sep. 2019 Democrats have also framed Mr. Trump’s reported offers to pardon aides willing to break the law to carry out his immigration policies as part of a pattern that also includes his efforts to impede Mr. Mueller’s investigators. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Democrats to Broaden Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump to Corruption Accusations," 8 Sep. 2019 Trump Agenda: Underwater on the economy Democrats are raising the alarm over Trump’s reported promises to pardon those who might violate the law in the rush to build a border wall. NBC News, "Democrats now have a wider Senate map. Can they take advantage of it?," 29 Aug. 2019 Nixon could have promised, explicitly or not, to pardon the Watergate figures whose sentencing by Judge John Sirica opened the dam releasing floods of information about his Administration. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Another Look at Impeachment, at the End of a Long Summer," 28 Aug. 2019 Well, considering the Mets are 27-10 since the All-Star break and have climbed to within 1 ½ of a wild-card spot, pardon Syndergaard for taking exception to the wording. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "After rough week in the Big Apple, Indians hope to catch a second wind in playoff race," 23 Aug. 2019 Mayor Lori Lightfoot was there for the presentation of the John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award, named for the Illinois governor who courageously pardoned the anarchists wrongly convicted of the 1886 Haymarket bombing. Rick Kogan,, "Maxwell Street Market and Bughouse Square: It must be summer in Chicago," 29 July 2019 That would put Mr Moon under pressure from conservatives and business lobbyists to return to the old practice of pardoning erring chaebol leaders for the good of the nation. The Economist, "South Korea’s left-wing president loses his zeal to humble big business," 22 June 2019

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 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
formal : 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 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

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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).


concealment of treason or felony

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