See also: excusé

English edit

 
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Etymology edit

From Middle English excusen (verb) and excuse (noun), borrowed from Old French escuser (verb) and excuse (noun), from Latin excūsō, excūsāre (to excuse, allege in excuse, literally, free from a charge), from ex (out) + causa (a charge); see cause, accuse and recuse. Displaced native Old English lād (an excuse) and lādian (to excuse).

Pronunciation edit

  • (file)
Verb
Noun

Verb edit

excuse (third-person singular simple present excuses, present participle excusing, simple past and past participle excused)

  1. (transitive) To forgive; to pardon.
    I excused him his transgressions.
    • c. 1608–1609 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene vii], page 25, column 1:
      Yet his Nature / In that’s no Changeling, and I muſt excuſe / What cannot be amended.
    • c. 1685, John Sharp, A Discourse of Conscience:
      If they say that he did sin in doing this, then they must at the same time acknowledge that a man's persuasion that a thing is a duty will not excuse him from guilt in practising it
  2. (transitive) To allow to leave, or release from any obligation.
    May I be excused from the table?
    I excused myself from the proceedings to think over what I'd heard.
  3. (transitive) To provide an excuse for; to explain, with the aim of alleviating guilt or negative judgement.
    You know he shouldn't have done it, so don't try to excuse his behavior!
    • c. 1503–1512, John Skelton, Ware the Hauke; republished in John Scattergood, editor, John Skelton: The Complete English Poems, 1983, →OCLC, page 62, lines 6–7:
      They cannot be excusyd
      By reason nor by law; []
  4. To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for.

Synonyms edit

Antonyms edit

  • (to release from guilt, shame, or punishment): blame, punish

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

excuse (countable and uncountable, plural excuses)

  1. (countable, uncountable) Explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgment; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault.
    Tell me why you were late – and I don't want to hear any excuses!
    I had to make an excuse for being late to the meeting.
  2. (law) A defense to a criminal or civil charge wherein the accused party admits to doing acts for which legal consequences would normally be appropriate, but asserts that special circumstances relieve that party of culpability for having done those acts.
  3. (often with preceding negative adjective, especially sorry, poor, or lame) An example of something that is substandard or of inferior quality.
    That thing is a poor excuse for a gingerbread man. Hasn't anyone taught you how to bake?
    He's a sorry excuse for a doctor.
    • 2008, Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap, London: Atlantic Books, page 131:
      What a fucking lame excuse for a man.
    • 2018 October 17, Drachinifel, 15:10 from the start, in Last Ride of the High Seas Fleet - Battle of Texel 1918[1], archived from the original on 4 August 2022:
      Seydlitz correctly identifies the larger shell splashes as coming from the two "large light cruisers" at the rear, and takes aim. Moments later, Courageous sheers out of line, smoke and steam venting through a massive hole in her side, the shells having blasted right through whatever excuse for armor was present and detonated amidst the boiler rooms. She is doomed.

Usage notes edit

  • We often say to make an excuse.

Synonyms edit

  • (explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgment): pretext release, clear, justify, forgive, tolerate, overlook, exempt, pardon, discharge, pretext, bear with, acquit, exonerate, absolve, pretense, vindicate.

Translations edit

See also edit

Further reading edit

French edit

Etymology edit

Deverbal from excuser.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

excuse f (plural excuses)

  1. excuse

Verb edit

excuse

  1. inflection of excuser:
    1. first/third-person singular present indicative/subjunctive
    2. second-person singular imperative

Further reading edit

Latin edit

Participle edit

excūse

  1. vocative masculine singular of excūsus

Spanish edit

Verb edit

excuse

  1. inflection of excusar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative