See more synonyms for pardon on
  1. kind indulgence, as in forgiveness of an offense or discourtesy or in tolerance of a distraction or inconvenience: I beg your pardon, but which way is Spruce Street?
  2. Law.
    1. a release from the penalty of an offense; a remission of penalty, as by a governor.
    2. the document by which such remission is declared.
  3. forgiveness of a serious offense or offender.
  4. Obsolete. a papal indulgence.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make courteous allowance for or to excuse: Pardon me, madam.
  2. to release (a person) from liability for an offense.
  3. to remit the penalty of (an offense): The governor will not pardon your crime.
  1. (used, with rising inflection, as an elliptical form of I beg your pardon, as when asking a speaker to repeat something not clearly heard or understood.)

Origin of pardon

1250–1300; Middle English (noun and v.) < Old French pardon (noun) remission, indulgence, noun derivative of pardoner (v.) < Medieval Latin perdōnāre to remit, overlook, literally, to forgive, equivalent to Latin per- for- (see per-) + dōnāre to give; see donate; Medieval Latin v. perhaps a translation from Germanic
Related formspar·don·a·ble, adjectivepar·don·a·ble·ness, nounpar·don·a·bly, adverbpar·don·less, adjectivenon·par·don·ing, adjectiveun·par·don·a·ble, adjectiveun·par·don·a·bly, adverbun·par·doned, adjectiveun·par·don·ing, adjective
Can be confusedcommute forgive pardon (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for pardon

See more synonyms for on
3. absolution, remission. Pardon, amnesty, reprieve are nouns referring to the cancellation, or delay with the possibility of eventual cancellation, of a punishment or penalty assigned for the violation of a military regulation or a civil law; absolution from guilt is not implied, merely a remission of the penalty. A pardon is granted to an individual, often by the action of a government official such as a governor, president, or monarch, and releases the individual from any punishment due for the infraction of the law, as a death sentence, prison term, or fine: to be released from prison with a full pardon. An amnesty is a pardon granted to a group of persons for past offenses against a government; it often includes an assurance of no future prosecution: to grant amnesty to political prisoners; an amnesty period for delinquent taxpayers during which no penalties are assessed. A reprieve is a delay of impending punishment, especially a death sentence; it does not cancel or remit the punishment, it simply delays it, usually for a specific period of time or until a decision can be arrived at as to the possibility of pardon or reduction of sentence: a last-minute reprieve, allowing the filing of an appeal to the Supreme Court. 6. acquit, clear. See excuse. 7. forgive, absolve, condone, overlook.

Antonyms for pardon Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pardonable

defensible, excusable, justifiable, passable, venial

Examples from the Web for pardonable

Historical Examples of pardonable

  • "It can't be me," she said with a pardonable disregard of English.

  • "I think we have won through, mademoiselle," said he, with pardonable vanity.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Most men, meanly envious, disliked him; all men held him in pardonable distrust.


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The caprice of keeping them company for a day might be pardonable.

    A Day's Ride

    Charles James Lever

  • "Just look at Rogue and my daughter, Sue, suh," he was wont to say with pardonable pride.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

British Dictionary definitions for pardonable


verb (tr)
  1. to excuse or forgive (a person) for (an offence, mistake, etc)to pardon someone; to pardon a fault
  1. forgiveness; allowance
    1. release from punishment for an offence
    2. the warrant granting such release
  2. a Roman Catholic indulgence
sentence substitute
  1. Also: pardon me, I beg your pardon
    1. sorry; excuse me
    2. what did you say?
Derived Formspardonable, adjectivepardonably, adverbpardonless, adjective

Word Origin for pardon

C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin perdōnum, from perdōnāre to forgive freely, from Latin per (intensive) + dōnāre to grant
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 pardonable

mid-15c., from Old French pardonable (12c.), from pardoner (see pardon (v.)). Related: Pardonably.



mid-15c., "to forgive for offense or sin," from Old French pardoner (see pardon (n.)).

'I grant you pardon,' said Louis XV to Charolais, who, to divert himself, had just killed a man; 'but I also pardon whoever will kill you.' [Marquis de Sade, "Philosophy in the Bedroom"]

Related: Pardoned; pardoning. Pardon my French as exclamation of apology for obscene language is from 1895.



late 13c., "papal indulgence," from Old French pardon, from pardoner "to grant; forgive" (11c., Modern French pardonner), "to grant, forgive," from Vulgar Latin *perdonare "to give wholeheartedly, to remit," from Latin per- "through, thoroughly" (see per) + donare "give, present" (see donation).

Meaning "passing over an offense without punishment" is from c.1300, also in the strictly ecclesiastical sense; sense of "pardon for a civil or criminal offense; release from penalty or obligation" is from late 14c. earlier in Anglo-French. Weaker sense of "excuse for a minor fault" is attested from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pardonable


see beg to differ; excuse me.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.