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
We can construct excuses based on the evil that occurred September 11th.
About our Eric Garners—too fat, too scared, too noncompliant, too many kids—there are always, as Flagg knows well, excuses.
There should be no more excuses for inaction on violence against women.
“Well we have a new parliament and there are no excuses left,” he says darkly.
Our first film was all visual with no sound, and it turned into No More Excuses—which is five shorts in one intercut.The Renegade: Robert Downey Sr. on His Classic Films, Son’s Battle with Drugs, and Bill Cosby | Marlow Stern | November 26, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
How clumsy seemed my own excuses for coming at all, compared to his pleasure at finding her at home!The Soldier of the Valley | Nelson Lloyd
The woman seemed very reluctant to accept the offer, pleading various excuses.The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
Isabel told him politely never to ride out without using the telephone first, and had her excuses already coined.Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
Besides, he was willing to admit that there were excuses for Cassidy, and there was a certain quiet tenacity in him.The Gold Trail | Harold Bindloss
At last I have had a letter from Deyverdun, wretched excuses, nothing done, vexatious enough.Private Letters of Edward Gibbon (1753-1794) Volume 1 (of 2) | Edward Gibbon
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