• To forgive; to pardon.
  • To allow to leave, or release from any obligation.
  • To provide an excuse for; to explain, with the aim of alleviating guilt or negative judgement.
  • To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for.


  • Explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgment; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault.
  • 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.
  • An example of something that is substandard or of inferior quality.


Similar words

  • forgive, let off the hook, let pass, pardon, unguilt
  • pretext release, clear, justify, forgive, tolerate, overlook, exempt, pardon, discharge, pretext, bear with, acquit, exonerate, absolve, pretense, vindicate.

Opposite words


  • From Middle English excusen and excuse, borrowed from Old French escuser and excuse, from Latin excuso ("to excuse, allege in excuse, literally, free from a charge"), from ex + causa; see cause, accuse and recuse. Displaced native and lādung.

Modern English dictionary

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