Dictionary.com

alibi

[ al-uh-bahy ]
/ ˈæl əˌbaɪ /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: alibi / alibied / alibiing on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural al·i·bis.
Law. the defense by an accused person of having been elsewhere at the time an alleged offense was committed.
an excuse, especially to avoid blame.
a person used as one's excuse: My sick grandmother was my alibi for missing school.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to give an excuse; offer a defense: to alibi for being late.
verb (used with object)
Informal.
  1. to provide an alibi for (someone): He alibied his friend out of a fix.
  2. to make or find (one's way) by using alibis: to alibi one's way out of work.
QUIZ
TEST YOUR MERIT ON THESE NEW WORDS IN 2021
The Dictionary added new words and definition to our vast collection, and we want to see how well-versed you are in the formally recognized new lingo. Take the quiz!
Question 1 of 8
What does JEDI stand for?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of alibi

First recorded in 1610–20; from Latin alibī (adverb): “in another place, elsewhere”

historical usage of alibi

Alibi in Latin is an adverb meaning “in or at another place.” Its earliest English uses, in the 18th century, are in legal contexts, both as an adverb and as a noun meaning “a plea of having been elsewhere.” The extended noun senses “excuse” and “person used as one's excuse” developed in the 20th century in the United States and occur in all but the most formal writing. As a verb alibi occurs mainly in informal use.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH alibi

alibi , excuse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use alibi in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alibi

alibi
/ (ˈælɪˌbaɪ) /

noun plural -bis
law
  1. a defence by an accused person that he was elsewhere at the time the crime in question was committed
  2. the evidence given to prove this
informal an excuse
verb
(tr) to provide with an alibi

Word Origin for alibi

C18: from Latin alibī elsewhere, from alius other + -bī as in ubī where
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
FEEDBACK