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”).
- (UK) enPR: ĭkskyo͞oz', IPA(key): /ɪkˈskjuːz/, /ɛksˈkjuːz/
- (US) enPR: ĭkskyo͞oz', IPA(key): /ɪksˈkjuz/, /ɛksˈkjuz/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -uːz
- (UK) enPR: ĭkskyo͞os', IPA(key): /ɪkˈskjuːs/, /ɛksˈkjuːs/
- (US) enPR: ĭkskyo͞os', IPA(key): /ɪksˈkjus/, /ɛksˈkjus/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -uːs
- (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 606515358, [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
- (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.
- (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!
- To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for.
- 1526, [William Tyndale, transl.], The Newe Testamẽt […] (Tyndale Bible), [Worms, Germany: Peter Schöffer], OCLC 762018299, 2 Corinthians xij:, folio ccxlvj, verso:
- Agayne / thynke ye that we excuſe oure ſelves? we ſpeake in Chriſt in the ſight of God. But we do all thyngꝭ dearly beloved for youre edifyinge.
- 1705, Thomas à Kempis (unknown translator), The Christian’s Pattern: or, A Treatise of the Imitation of Jesus Christ, London: T. C. Hansard, […], published 1831, page 54:
- It were more meet that thou didst accuse thy self, and excusedst thy Brother.
- excuse me
- excuse my français, excuse my French
- excuse you
- please excuse my dear Aunt Sally
- (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.
- 1526, [William Tyndale, transl.], The Newe Testamẽt […] (Tyndale Bible), [Worms, Germany: Peter Schöffer], OCLC 762018299, Luke xiiij:, folio cj, recto:
- And they all atonce begane to make excuſe. The fyrſt ſayd vnto him: I have bought a ferme / and I muſt nedes goo and ſe it / I praye the have me excuſed.
- (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.
- (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, Last Ride of the High Seas Fleet - Battle of Texel 1918, archived from the original on 4 August 2022, retrieved 4 August 2022, 15:10 from the start:
- 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.
- We often say to make an excuse.
- (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.
- excuse in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- excuse in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
excuse f (plural excuses)
- inflection of :
- “excuse”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.