excuse

An excuse is an explanation for something that went wrong. When we give an excuse, we're trying to get someone to cut us some slack.

When you finish dinner and ask, "May I be excused?" you've used one of many meanings of this word. It’s generally a reason for behavior: A note from your parents saying you have a doctor’s appointment can excuse you from school for the day. If your dog is sick, he has an excuse for barfing in the house. But be careful — making excuses can get awfully close to whining.

Primary Meanings of excuse

1.
nv
a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.
accept an excuse for
2.
v
ask for permission to be released from an engagement
3.
n
a note explaining an absence
4.
n
a poor example
Full Definitions of excuse
1

n a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.

“he kept finding excuses to stay”
Synonyms:
alibi, exculpation, self-justification
Types:
extenuation, mitigation
a partial excuse to mitigate censure; an attempt to represent an offense as less serious than it appears by showing mitigating circumstances
Type of:
defence, defense, vindication
the justification for some act or belief

v accept an excuse for

“Please excuse my dirty hands”
Synonyms:
pardon
Type of:
forgive
stop blaming or grant forgiveness

v excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with

excuse someone's behavior”
Synonyms:
condone
Type of:
forgive
stop blaming or grant forgiveness

v defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning

Synonyms:
apologise, apologize, justify, rationalise, rationalize
Types:
color, colour, gloss
give a deceptive explanation or excuse for
plead
offer as an excuse or plea
extenuate, mitigate, palliate
lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of
Type of:
defend, fend for, support
argue or speak in defense of

v serve as a reason or cause or justification of

“Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work”
Synonyms:
explain
Types:
alibi
exonerate by means of an alibi
Type of:
justify, vindicate
show to be right by providing justification or proof
2

v ask for permission to be released from an engagement

Synonyms:
beg off
Type of:
bespeak, call for, quest, request
express the need or desire for; ask for

v grant exemption or release to

“Please excuse me from this class”
Synonyms:
exempt, let off, relieve
Types:
frank
exempt by means of an official pass or letter, as from customs or other checks
Type of:
absolve, free, justify
let off the hook
3

n a note explaining an absence

“he had to get his mother to write an excuse for him”
Type of:
billet, line, note, short letter
a short personal letter
4

n a poor example

“a poor excuse for an automobile”
Synonyms:
apology
Type of:
example, illustration, instance, representative
an item of information that is typical of a class or group

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