- 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.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for excuse on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for excuses
About our Eric Garners—too fat, too scared, too noncompliant, too many kids—there are always, as Flagg knows well, excuses.McConaughey’s ‘Stand’—And Ours
December 5, 2014
“Well we have a new parliament and there are no excuses left,” he says darkly.Ukraine Militias Warn of Anti-Kiev Coup
November 28, 2014
Bush apologists, as always, are ready with excuses, like playing the Terrorism Card.Assuming GOP Does Take the Senate, Dems Have Nothing to Fear
Veronique de Rugy
November 1, 2014
These are excuses offered up by a party that is too divided to govern and legislate.In Passover Phone Conversation, Eric Cantor Slams Obama
April 17, 2014
I love the patients, and the stories, and the excuses and the smiles.These Are the 7 Types of Patients That Drive Your Doctor Totally Bananas
Dr. Jennifer Caudle
February 6, 2014
After delays, excuses, pleadings, Julie's father lost patience.In the Heart of Vosges
But the Rector felt that he was listening to the excuses of a serpent.The Incomplete Amorist
The most hopeless ill-doer is he who excuses himself angrily.Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
His carelessness about his character is one of his excuses: a very bad one.Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
I was cold; tried to get out of the matter with compliments and excuses.The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete
Duc de Saint-Simon
- to pardon or forgivehe 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 lenientlyto excuse someone's ignorance
- to serve as an apology or explanation for; vindicate or justifyher age excuses her behaviour
- to exempt from a task, obligation, etcyou are excused making breakfast
- to dismiss or allow to leavehe asked them to excuse him
- to seek permission for (someone, esp oneself) to leavehe 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, etche gave no excuse for his rudeness
- informal an inferior example of something specified; makeshift; substituteshe is a poor excuse for a hostess
- the act of excusing
Word Origin and History for excuses
early 13c., "attempt to clear (someone) from blame," from Old French escuser (12c., Modern French excuser) "apologize, make excuses; pardon, exonerate," from Latin excusare "excuse, make an excuse for, release from a charge," from ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + causa "accusation, legal action" (see cause).
Meaning "to obtain exemption or release" is from mid-15c.; that of "to accept another's plea of excuse" is from early 14c. Excuse me as a mild apology or statement of polite disagreement is from c.1600.
late 14c., "action of offering an apology," from Old French excuse, from excuser (see excuse (v.)). The sense of "that serves as a reason for being excused" is recorded from late 15c.