containing an apology or excuse for a fault, failure, insult, injury, etc.: An apologetic letter to his creditors explained the delay.
defending by speech or writing.
willing or eager to apologize.
sorry; regretful.

Also a·pol·o·get·i·cal.

Origin of apologetic

1400–50; late Middle English apologetik a formal defense (< Middle French) < Late Latin apologēticus written defense, defensive < Greek apologētikós fit for defense, equivalent to apologē- (variant stem of apologeîsthai to speak in defense; see apologia) + -tikos -tic
Related formsa·pol·o·get·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·a·pol·o·get·ic, adjectivenon·a·pol·o·get·i·cal, adjectivenon·a·pol·o·get·i·cal·ly, adverbpseu·do·a·pol·o·get·ic, adjectivepseu·do·a·pol·o·get·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-a·pol·o·get·ic, adjectivequa·si-a·pol·o·get·i·cal·ly, adverbun·a·pol·o·get·ic, adjectiveun·a·pol·o·get·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apologetic

Contemporary Examples of apologetic

Historical Examples of apologetic

  • "I had to draw it a bit fine," declared Langdon, with apologetic remonstrance.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The Assistant Commissioner gave this definition in an apologetic voice.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Wiping her eyes hurriedly, she turned to him with a pitiful, apologetic smile.

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

  • "I had no lunch," said a muffled, apologetic voice from the window.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • Old Man Curry's tone was apologetic and conciliating in the extreme.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

British Dictionary definitions for apologetic



expressing or anxious to make apology; contrite
protecting or defending in speech or writing
Derived Formsapologetically, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for apologetic

1640s, "vindicatory," from French apologétique, from Latin apologeticus, from Greek apologetikos "defensible," from apologeisthai (see apology). Meaning "regretfully acknowledging failure" is from 1855. As a noun, "formal defense," from early 15c. Related: Apologetics (c.1753).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper