[ verb ik-skyooz; noun ik-skyoos ]
See synonyms for: excuseexcusedexcusesexcusing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),ex·cused, ex·cus·ing.
  1. to regard or judge with forgiveness or indulgence; pardon or forgive; overlook (a fault, error, etc.): Excuse his bad manners.

  2. to offer an apology for; seek to remove the blame of: He excused his absence by saying that he was ill.

  1. to serve as an apology or justification for; justify: Ignorance of the law excuses no one.

  2. to release from an obligation or duty: to be excused from jury duty.

  3. to seek or obtain exemption or release for (oneself): to excuse oneself from a meeting.

  4. to refrain from exacting; remit; dispense with: to excuse a debt.

  5. to allow (someone) to leave: If you'll excuse me, I have to make a telephone call.

  1. 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.

  2. a ground or reason for excusing or being excused: Ignorance is no excuse.

  1. the act of excusing someone or something.

  2. a pretext or subterfuge: He uses his poor health as an excuse for evading all responsibility.

  3. 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

  1. 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.)

Origin of excuse

First recorded in 1250–1300; (verb) Middle English escusen, excusen, from Old French escuser, excuser, from Latin excūsāre “to put outside, exonerate,” equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -cūsāre, derivative of causa cause; (noun) Middle English escuse, excuse, from Old French excuse, derivative of escuser, excuser

synonym study For excuse

1. Excuse, forgive, pardon imply being lenient or giving up the wish to punish. Excuse means to overlook some (usually) slight offense: to excuse bad manners. Forgive is applied to excusing more serious offenses: to forgive and forget. Pardon usually applies to a specific act of lenience or mercy by an official or superior: The governor was asked to pardon the condemned criminal. 8. Excuse, apology both imply an explanation of some failure or failing. Excuse implies a desire to avoid punishment or rebuke. Apology usually implies acknowledgment that one has been in the wrong.

Other words for excuse

Other words from excuse

  • 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

Words that may be confused with excuse

Words Nearby excuse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use excuse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for excuse


verb(ɪkˈskjuːz) (tr)
  1. to pardon or forgive: he always excuses her unpunctuality

  2. to seek pardon or exemption for (a person, esp oneself): to excuse oneself for one's mistakes

  1. to make allowances for; judge leniently: to excuse someone's ignorance

  2. to serve as an apology or explanation for; vindicate or justify: her age excuses her behaviour

  3. to exempt from a task, obligation, etc: you are excused making breakfast

  4. to dismiss or allow to leave: he asked them to excuse him

  5. to seek permission for (someone, esp oneself) to leave: he excused himself and left

  6. be excused euphemistic to go to the lavatory

  7. excuse me! an expression used to catch someone's attention or to apologize for an interruption, disagreement, or social indiscretion

  1. 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

  2. informal an inferior example of something specified; makeshift; substitute: she is a poor excuse for a hostess

  1. the act of excusing

Origin of excuse

C13: from Latin excusāre, from ex- 1 + -cūsare, from causa cause, accusation

Derived forms of excuse

  • 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