to regard or judge with forgiveness or indulgence; pardon or forgive; overlook (a fault, error, etc.): Excuse his bad manners.
to offer an apology for; seek to remove the blame of: He excused his absence by saying that he was ill.
to serve as an apology or justification for; justify: Ignorance of the law excuses no one.
to release from an obligation or duty: to be excused from jury duty.
to seek or obtain exemption or release for (oneself): to excuse oneself from a meeting.
to refrain from exacting; remit; dispense with: to excuse a debt.
to allow (someone) to leave: If you'll excuse me, I have to make a telephone call.
an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.: His excuse for being late was unacceptable.
a ground or reason for excusing or being excused: Ignorance is no excuse.
the act of excusing someone or something.
a pretext or subterfuge: He uses his poor health as an excuse for evading all responsibility.
an inferior or inadequate specimen of something specified: That coward is barely an excuse for a man. Her latest effort is a poor excuse for a novel.
Idioms about excuse
Excuse me, (used as a polite expression, as when addressing a stranger, when interrupting or disagreeing with someone, or to request repetition of what has just been said.)
- ex·cus·a·ble, adjective
- ex·cus·a·ble·ness, noun
- ex·cus·a·bly, adverb
- ex·cus·al, noun
- ex·cuse·less, adjective
- ex·cus·er, noun
- ex·cus·ing·ly, adverb
- ex·cus·ive, adjective
- ex·cus·ive·ly, adverb
- non·ex·cus·a·ble, adjective
- non·ex·cus·a·ble·ness, noun
- non·ex·cus·a·bly, adverb
- pre·ex·cuse, verb (used with object), pre·ex·cused, pre·ex·cus·ing.
- self-ex·cuse, noun
- self-ex·cused, adjective
- self-ex·cus·ing, adjective
- un·ex·cus·a·ble, adjective
- un·ex·cus·a·bly, adverb
- un·ex·cused, adjective
- un·ex·cus·ing, adjective
- alibi, excuse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use excuse in a sentence
Traditional absentee excuses include military deployments or illness.
In fact, Texas is one of only six remaining states that are using strict lists of excuses to decide who can vote by mail this year.Trump contradicts CDC director on vaccine; Biden says Americans shouldn’t trust Trump | Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner | September 16, 2020 | Washington Post
Without broader change, Markowitz argued, the city will probably just find another law to use as an excuse to punish speech they don’t like.Those Ticketed for Seditious Language Say Their Only Crime Was Talking Back | Kate Nucci | September 9, 2020 | Voice of San Diego
That takes care of those five and whatever excuses might be connected to how they were obtained and who did what to obtain them.
If your organization is smaller, don’t use the small sample size as an excuse to avoid this work.
Whatever the excuse, in 2008 we were all subjected to Celebrity Apprentice.Donald Trump Fires Woman For Not Calling Bill Cosby | Jack Holmes, The Daily Beast Video | January 5, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Augustus, also known as Augustus the Strong, was a party-boy, and loved any excuse to celebrate.One Cake to Rule Them All: How Stollen Stole Our Hearts | Molly Hannon | December 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
This same fear has recently resurfaced as the number one excuse for blocking a proposed subway through Beverly Hills.
But since the government has now permitted the River God to leave the U.K., that excuse can no longer wash.Britain Has Lost Its Marbles: Elgin Loan Will Appease Putin | Geoffrey Robertson | December 5, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In it, Weber suggested approaching a woman with lines like: “excuse me, but you look beautiful.”
One of the simplest of these childish tricks is the invention of an excuse for not instantly obeying a command, as "Come here!"Children's Ways | James Sully
Could he be conscious of all this, and not excuse the unsteady youth—accuse himself?
I must admit that there is some excuse for you; the pearl of Andalusia is undoubtedly ravissante.
"A woman's particular reason is a man's feeble excuse," murmured Sir Lucien rudely.Dope | Sax Rohmer
Now she knew why her expected guest had not come last night, or remembered to send an excuse.Rosemary in Search of a Father | C. N. Williamson
British Dictionary definitions for excuse
to pardon or forgive: he always excuses her unpunctuality
to seek pardon or exemption for (a person, esp oneself): to excuse oneself for one's mistakes
to make allowances for; judge leniently: to excuse someone's ignorance
to serve as an apology or explanation for; vindicate or justify: her age excuses her behaviour
to exempt from a task, obligation, etc: you are excused making breakfast
to dismiss or allow to leave: he asked them to excuse him
to seek permission for (someone, esp oneself) to leave: he excused himself and left
be excused euphemistic to go to the lavatory
excuse me! an expression used to catch someone's attention or to apologize for an interruption, disagreement, or social indiscretion
an explanation offered in defence of some fault or offensive behaviour or as a reason for not fulfilling an obligation, etc: he gave no excuse for his rudeness
informal an inferior example of something specified; makeshift; substitute: she is a poor excuse for a hostess
the act of excusing
- excusable, adjective
- excusableness, noun
- excusably, 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