[ uh-pol-uh-jet-ik ]
/ əˌpɒl əˈdʒɛt ɪk /


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.

Nearby words

  1. apollonius dyscolus,
  2. apollonius of perga,
  3. apollonius of rhodes,
  4. apollos,
  5. apollyon,
  6. apologetics,
  7. apologia,
  8. apologia pro vita sua,
  9. apological,
  10. apologise

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 forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apologetic

British Dictionary definitions for apologetic


/ (əˌpɒləˈdʒɛtɪk) /


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