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 Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, 37, met with the 71-year-old commander in chief on Wednesday to discuss a possible pardon for Alice Johnson, a 62-year-old great-grandmother serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Maria Pasquini,, "New York Post’s ‘Trump Meets Rump’ Cover Sparks Outrage Over 'Sexist' Depiction of Kim Kardashian," 31 May 2018 San Diegans woke up Thursday to learn Trump was granting a full pardon to conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Sousa, who had been a part-time resident of Rancho Santa Fe and apparently still owns property there. Michael Smolens,, "The political, celebrity and San Diego connections to Trump's pardon fest," 31 May 2018 These include efforts to offer potential witnesses pardons, efforts to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions into reversing his recusal, Trump’s involvement in his son Don Jr.’s misleading public statement about his Trump Tower Russian meeting. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Trump’s attorney general nominee wrote a memo expressing deep suspicion of the Mueller probe," 20 Dec. 2018 Other recent measures included the freeing, either on bail or as a result of pardons, of political prisoners, including opposition party chief Kem Sokha, who was charged last year with treason on the basis of flimsy evidence. Sopheng Cheang, The Seattle Times, "Cambodian court gives suspended sentences to labor leaders," 11 Dec. 2018 He was released from prison and granted a royal pardon when Mr. Mahathir abandoned the then-ruling United Malays National Organization to lead a new coalition to victory and promised to pass the premiership to Mr. Anwar. Yantoultra Ngui, WSJ, "Malaysia’s Anwar a Step Closer to Power," 13 Oct. 2018 President Donald Trump, a political ally, granted him a pardon even before Arpaio could be sentenced. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Joe Arpaio asks AG Jeff Sessions to investigate his 2016 defeat in sheriff's race," 21 June 2018 But instead of granting pardons, Muhammad bin Salman, the crown prince and power behind the throne, has added to the 2,000 or so political prisoners detained since September. The Economist, "The calculations of Muhammad bin Salman," 7 June 2018 Pence, however, declined to grant Cooper a pardon during his four years as Indiana's governor, despite a recommendation from the state's parole board. Tony Cook, Indianapolis Star, "Wrongfully convicted man Pence wouldn't pardon calls VP 'racist' for praising Arpaio," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In his waning days in office, Bush resolved to pardon Weinberger. Katie Benner,, "People are trying to figure out William Barr. He’s busy wielding power," 9 June 2019 In addition, the bill will direct the state’s governor to pardon past convictions for low-level possession charges, The Tribune reported. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "Illinois Is Putting People of Color First In Line For Its Cannabis Industry," 6 June 2019 Manhattan local prosecutors are pursuing a related criminal case against Mr. Manafort, The Wall Street Journal and others reported Friday, which could proceed if President Trump decides to pardon Mr. Manafort of the federal crimes. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Paul Manafort Committed ‘Bold’ Crimes, Mueller’s Team Says," 23 Feb. 2019 The king decided to pardon Abu Issa, which is probably not what Macbeth would have done in his shoes. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012 Department of Justice records indicate that former President Barack Obama pardoned Jim in January 2017. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Steve Harvey and His Wife May Soon Face Big Problems From Marjorie's Past With Her Ex-Husband," 9 May 2019 Last week, Trump reportedly told then CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan (who has since stepped up to temporarily fill Nielsen’s role) that he would be pardoned if he was jailed for denying migrants the right to enter the U.S, according to CNN. Teen Vogue, "How the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Policies are Changing After Kirstjen Nielsen's Resignation," 18 Apr. 2019 Observers have questioned whether Trump will pardon Manafort's crimes. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Paul Manafort trial tested Mueller, Trump: What to know about the case," 22 Aug. 2018 Former president Bill Clinton was criticized for pardoning Marc Rich, a financier accused of tax evasion. Annie Linskey,, "How does Trump decide his pardons? Critics say it’s based on gut feeling," 31 May 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

29 May 2019

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
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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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