Synonyms & Antonyms of pardon

(Entry 1 of 2)

release from the guilt or penalty of an offense
  • the criminal is hoping for a presidential pardon

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Synonyms & Antonyms of pardon (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to cease to have feelings of anger or bitterness toward
  • he eventually pardoned his sister after she apologized

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2 to dismiss as of little importance
  • I'm willing to pardon a little sloppiness of dress in such a kind and loving person

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About pardon

How does the verb pardon differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of pardon are condone, excuse, and forgive. While all these words mean "to exact neither punishment nor redress," pardon implies that one remits a penalty due for an admitted or established offense.

pardon a criminal

When is condone a more appropriate choice than pardon?

In some situations, the words condone and pardon are roughly equivalent. However, 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

When might excuse be a better fit than pardon?

The words excuse and pardon are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these. Often the term implies extenuating circumstances.

excuse an interruption

excused them for interrupting

injustice excuses strong responses

When can forgive be used instead of pardon?

The synonyms forgive and pardon are sometimes interchangeable, but forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings.

could not forgive their rudeness

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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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Cite this Entry

“Pardon.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pardon

Nglish: Translation of pardon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pardon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pardon


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