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[uh-pol-uh-jee] /əˈpɒl ə dʒi/
noun, plural apologies.
a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another:
He demanded an apology from me for calling him a crook.
a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.
(initial capital letter, italics) a dialogue by Plato, centering on Socrates' defense before the tribunal that condemned him to death.
an inferior specimen or substitute; makeshift:
The tramp wore a sad apology for a hat.
Origin of apology
late Middle English
1400-50; earlier apologie, late Middle English apologe (< Middle French) < Late Latin apologia < Greek; see apologia
Related forms
reapology, noun, plural reapologies.
superapology, noun, plural superapologies.
2. vindication. See excuse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for apology
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In view of the violence you made use of, I consider that you owe my son an apology.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • She called upon her in the course of the morning, to make an apology.

  • "I jest took up a garter," she said, with some apology in her tone.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • He backed, and began to stammer an apology; but she did not wait to hear a word of it.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • Drumtochty listened patiently to Hillocks' apology, but was not satisfied.

British Dictionary definitions for apology


noun (pl) -gies
an oral or written expression of regret or contrition for a fault or failing
a poor substitute or offering
another word for apologia
Word Origin
C16: from Old French apologie, from Late Latin apologia, from Greek: a verbal defence, from apo- + logos speech
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apology

early 15c., "defense, justification," from Late Latin apologia, from Greek apologia "a speech in defense," from apologeisthai "to speak in one's defense," from apologos "an account, story," from apo- "from, off" (see apo-) + logos "speech" (see lecture (n.)).

The original English sense of "self-justification" yielded a meaning "frank expression of regret for wrong done," first recorded 1590s, but this was not the main sense until 18c. The old sense tends to emerge in Latin form apologia (first attested in English 1784), especially since J.H. Newman's "Apologia pro Vita Sua" (1864).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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