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(1)   A poor example
"It was an apology for a meal"
"A poor excuse for an automobile"
(2)   A note explaining an absence
"He had to get his mother to write an excuse for him"
(3)   A defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.
"He kept finding excuses to stay"
"Every day he had a new alibi for not getting a job"
"His transparent self-justification was unacceptable"


(4)   Excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with
"Excuse someone's behavior"
"She condoned her husband's occasional infidelities"
(5)   Serve as a reason or cause or justification of
"Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work"
"Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again"
(6)   Grant exemption or release to
"Please excuse me from this class"
(7)   Ask for permission to be released from an engagement
(8)   Defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning
"Rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior"
"He rationalized his lack of success"
(9)   Accept an excuse for
"Please excuse my dirty hands"


< < < < + ; see cause. Cf. accuse.


  1. To forgive; to pardon.
    I excused him his transgressions.
  2. To allow to leave.
    May I be excused from the table?
    I excused myself from the proceedings to think over what I'd heard.
  3. 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!


  1. An explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgement.
    Tell me why you were late – and I don't want to hear any excuses!


  • (explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgement): pretext