apol·​o·​gy | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce apology (audio) \
plural apologies

Definition of apology

1a : an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret a public apology
b apologies plural : an expression of regret for not being able to do something I won't be able to attend. Please give them my apologies.
2a : something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize : defense The book is an apology for capitalism.
3 informal : a poor substitute or example : makeshift He's a poor apology for a father.

Choose the Right Synonym for apology

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi mean matter offered in explanation or defense. apology usually applies to an expression of regret for a mistake or wrong with implied admission of guilt or fault and with or without reference to mitigating or extenuating circumstances. said by way of apology that he would have met them if he could apologia implies not admission of guilt or regret but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position. his speech was an apologia for his foreign policy excuse implies an intent to avoid or remove blame or censure. used illness as an excuse for missing the meeting plea stresses argument or appeal for understanding or sympathy or mercy. her usual plea that she was nearsighted pretext suggests subterfuge and the offering of false reasons or motives in excuse or explanation. used any pretext to get out of work alibi implies a desire to shift blame or evade punishment and imputes mere plausibility to the explanation. his alibi failed to stand scrutiny

Examples of apology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The German state of Hesse's Jewish life and fight against anti-Semitism commissioner Uwe Becker demanded an apology and clarification from Lufthansa. Aaron Cooper, CNN, 11 May 2022 Survivors are long overdue a formal apology from the U.S., said Samuel Torres, deputy CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. Graham Lee Brewer, NBC News, 11 May 2022 On Wednesday, a group of religious leaders is scheduled to hold a news conference in South Los Angeles to denounce the ad and demand an apology from the union. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 Jerry West has demanded an apology and retraction from HBO and Winning Time's production team. Keith Nelson, Men's Health, 9 May 2022 President Bill Clinton finally issued a formal apology in 1997. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 May 2022 Israeli officials this week also voiced anger, demanding an apology from the Russian government for claiming that Hitler, the leader of the Nazis’ Third Reich and the architect of the Holocaust, was of Jewish ancestry. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 No other Israeli officials have yet publicly responded to Moscow’s latest retort, however, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid sought an apology from his Russian counterpart for his remarks on Monday. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 4 May 2022 Will has since issued a formal apology and resigned from his Academy membership. ELLE, 23 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of apology

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for apology

Middle English apologe "formal defense," borrowed from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French apologie "public defense in speech or writing," borrowed from Late Latin apologia, borrowed from Greek apología "speech in defense" (Late Greek, "speech in defense of the Christian faith by a martyr, excuse, vindication before God"), derivative (with -ia -ia entry 1) of apologeîsthai "to speak in defense, defend oneself" — more at apologetic entry 1

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The first known use of apology was in 1533

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Apology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apology. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for apology


apol·​o·​gy | \ ə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce apology (audio) \
plural apologies

Kids Definition of apology

: an expression of regret for having done or said something wrong

More from Merriam-Webster on apology

Nglish: Translation of apology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apology for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about apology


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