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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for pardon

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted Hunt a pardon on grounds of innocence in 1998. Mike Cason |, al, "Alabama Bicentennial: 200 years of political scandals and scrapes," 4 Dec. 2019 These pardons demean the reputation of the U.S. military. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: In politics, where does the truth lie? (12/1/19)," 1 Dec. 2019 Rumors swirled that Trump would announce more war-crimes pardons over the Veterans Day holiday. Waitman Wade Beorn, The New Republic, "The War-Crimes Presidency," 27 Nov. 2019 In his previous pardon applications, Soering and his lawyers said DNA evidence unavailable at the time of his conviction pointed to his innocence. Fox News, "Son of German diplomat, girlfriend paroled 34 years after her parents were murdered in DC home," 26 Nov. 2019 Even if the pardon hadn't been issued, the misdemeanor conviction wouldn't have prevented him from running for office again. CBS News, "Court hears arguments in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's bid to erase conviction pardoned by Trump," 23 Oct. 2019 He was sentenced to four years in prison, but served just 14 months before receiving an official pardon. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Cessna Is Such a Badass Plane," 17 Oct. 2019 Gallagher is one of the three defendants in war crimes cases in which Trump intervened last week, issuing pardons to two soldiers and restoring Gallagher's rank and pay. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump says he will block military from removing Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher," 21 Nov. 2019 The White House initially made preparations to issue more pardons on Memorial Day but held off after encountering fierce resistance from military leaders and prominent veterans., "In a statement released by the White House late Friday, Trump announced that he was ordering the full pardon of Clint Lorance, a former Army lieutenant, from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where he is serving a 19-year sentence for the murder of two civilians.," 17 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Earlier this month Trump dismissed murder charges against Golsteyn and pardoned Lorance, who was serving 19 years in federal prison for murder. NBC News, "Navy secretary strongly considering resigning over Trump's meddling in SEAL case," 23 Nov. 2019 Rod Blagojevich denied Weger’s request to either pardon him or commute his sentence to time served. al, "Alabama granddaughter unsuccessfully fights parole in 1960 murders of 3 Illinois women," 21 Nov. 2019 For example, shortly after being elected president, Thomas Jefferson pardoned everyone who had been convicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts, and Congress paid back the fines these individuals had incurred. Stephanie Barclay, Twin Cities, "Stephanie Barclay: 5 myths about the Constitution," 11 Nov. 2019 Approximately 500,000 citizens convicted of petty crimes will be pardoned, fines forgiven and in certain cases, legal restrictions removed from their records. Peter Mikelbank,, "Japan Celebrates Emperor Naruhito’s Enthronement with the Ultimate Royal Guest List!," 22 Oct. 2019 From January 2011 until January 2019, then, Wisconsin was the state that refused to pardon. Dan Barry, New York Times, "His Victim Forgave Him Years Ago. Now the State Has, Too.," 6 Nov. 2019 The United States , in turn, pardoned or commuted the sentences of one Iranian and six Iranian-Americans. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "The Hostage Drama in Iran Drags On—Forty Years Later," 4 Nov. 2019 Mohammed, who is also a US citizen, had been in exile in the United States until Abiy came to power and pardoned political prisoners and journalists jailed during previous regimes. Idris Muktar Ibrahim And Arnaud Siad, CNN, "Deadly protests roil Ethiopia as Nobel winner's backers and critics clash," 26 Oct. 2019 Israel is in the process of extraditing the Russian suspect to the U.S. Israeli leaders have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to pardon Issachar. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Israelis rally in support of woman imprisoned in Russia," 19 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pardon

Time Traveler for pardon

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pardon

Last Updated

11 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pardon.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


heavy with or as if with moisture

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!