noun, plural a·pol·o·gies.

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

1400–50; earlier apologie, late Middle English apologe (< Middle French) < Late Latin apologia < Greek; see apologia
Related formsre·a·pol·o·gy, noun, plural re·a·pol·o·gies.su·per·a·pol·o·gy, noun, plural su·per·a·pol·o·gies.

Synonyms for apology

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

Examples from the Web for apology

Contemporary Examples of apology

Historical Examples of apology

  • 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 plural -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 for apology

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

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