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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 1950, Truman granted Curley a full pardon after securing his release. Neil Vigdor, New York Times, "Presidential Pardons Through History," 21 Feb. 2020 The sentencing set off a parlor game of speculation in Washington, with many wondering when — not if — President Donald Trump would grant Stone a pardon. Ashraf Khalil, Time, "Roger Stone Is Sentenced to 40 Months in Federal Prison as Trump Says He Won't Pardon Him — Yet," 20 Feb. 2020 Pogue, the founder and former CEO of McKinney construction firm Pogue Construction, was granted a full pardon for his 2010 conviction for filing false income tax statements. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Trump grants clemency to McKinney construction firm founder and West Texas mother of two," 18 Feb. 2020 The White House announced Trump granted a full pardon to Kerik, as well as granting commutation for disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, on Tuesday afternoon. NBC News, "Trump pardons Bernard Kerik: Why the former N.Y. police commissioner spent time in prison," 18 Feb. 2020 Pardon me: Republican President Donald Trump is reportedly considering granting a pardon to a Democratic lawmaker convicted of serious corruption charges. cleveland, "The Flyover goes caucusing: The Flyover," 29 Jan. 2020 In 2001, she was granted a full pardon by President Bill Clinton. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Will Felicity Huffman serve at East Bay prison? She wouldn’t be the facility’s first inmate of note," 16 Sep. 2019 The first to grant a mock presidential pardon was George H.W. Bush in 1989. Tiffany Blackstone, Good Housekeeping, "So, What's the History Behind the Annual Turkey Pardon?," 4 Sep. 2019 In 2018, the board granted pardons in 77 percent of the cases, Giles said. Josh Kovner,, "Is the Trump administration singling out Connecticut? Federal immigration authorities refuse to recognize state’s criminal pardons," 23 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Before the wide 2020 Democratic presidential field had narrowed, many contenders were on the record taking a stand against pardoning Trump, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "A Biden pardon of Trump the latest liberal conspiracy theory," 16 May 2020 Ethiopia pardoned about 5,000 inmates and Kenya released about 4,000. Elisha Bala-gbogbo,, "Nigeria Frees 2,600 Prisoners to Ease Overcrowding," 15 May 2020 Ford later pardoned his predecessor before any criminal charges related to the Watergate burglary could be filed. Bill Barrow,, "Biden says he would not pardon Trump or block investigations," 15 May 2020 He is expected to return to Israel with an American-Israeli woman who was jailed in Russia on drug charges and whom Putin has pardoned. Fox News, "Israel delays plans to annex parts of West Bank," 30 Jan. 2020 Finally, President Donald Trump today pardoned a turkey named Bread, and another one named Butter, not to be confused with the South Park character Butters. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: Let’s talk turkey about politics conversations at the Thanksgiving table," 26 Nov. 2019 It was donated to the university by former Louisiana Gov. Richard Leche, who was convicted of a defrauding scheme in 1940 and pardoned by President Harry Truman in 1953. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Tulane University removes its Victory Bell after learning it was originally used on a plantation," 28 Feb. 2020 The Courier-Journal has reported that some of those pardoned by Bevin had connections to prominent people in the state. NBC News, "Ex-Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin defends pardon of child rapist," 20 Dec. 2019 Joe Arpaio, the former county sheriff in Arizona who was convicted of criminal contempt of court and pardoned by President Donald Trump, is scheduled to speak Thursday night at a fundraiser hosted by the Talladega County Republican Club. Mike Cason |, al, "Arizona’s “Tent City’ Sheriff Joe Arpaio to speak at Alabama GOP event," 23 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for pardon

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pardon

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pardon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for pardon


How to pronounce pardon (audio)

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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