Search Result for "excuse": 
Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (3)

1. a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.;
- Example: "he kept finding excuses to stay"
- Example: "every day he had a new alibi for not getting a job"
- Example: "his transparent self-justification was unacceptable"
[syn: excuse, alibi, exculpation, self-justification]

2. a note explaining an absence;
- Example: "he had to get his mother to write an excuse for him"

3. a poor example;
- Example: "it was an apology for a meal"
- Example: "a poor excuse for an automobile"
[syn: apology, excuse]


VERB (6)

1. accept an excuse for;
- Example: "Please excuse my dirty hands"
[syn: excuse, pardon]

2. grant exemption or release to;
- Example: "Please excuse me from this class"
[syn: excuse, relieve, let off, exempt]

3. serve as a reason or cause or justification of;
- Example: "Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work"
- Example: "Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again"
[syn: excuse, explain]

4. defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning;
- Example: "rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior"
- Example: "he rationalized his lack of success"
[syn: apologize, apologise, excuse, justify, rationalize, rationalise]

5. ask for permission to be released from an engagement;
[syn: excuse, beg off]

6. excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with;
- Example: "excuse someone's behavior"
- Example: "She condoned her husband's occasional infidelities"
[syn: excuse, condone]

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5 definitions retrieved:

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Excuse \Ex*cuse"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Excused; p. pr. & vb. n. Excusing.] [OE. escusen, cusen, OF. escuser, excuser, F. excuser, fr. L. excusare; ex out + causa cause, causari to plead. See Cause.] 1. To free from accusation, or the imputation of fault or blame; to clear from guilt; to release from a charge; to justify by extenuating a fault; to exculpate; to absolve; to acquit. [1913 Webster] A man's persuasion that a thing is duty, will not excuse him from guilt in practicing it, if really and indeed it be against Gog's law. --Abp. Sharp. [1913 Webster] 2. To pardon, as a fault; to forgive entirely, or to admit to be little censurable, and to overlook; as, we excuse irregular conduct, when extraordinary circumstances appear to justify it. [1913 Webster] I must excuse what can not be amended. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 3. To regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to overlook; to pardon. [1913 Webster] And in our own (excuse some courtly stains.) No whiter page than Addison remains. --Pope. [1913 Webster] 4. To free from an impending obligation or duty; hence, to disengage; to dispense with; to release by favor; also, to remit by favor; not to exact; as, to excuse a forfeiture. [1913 Webster] I pray thee have me excused. --xiv. 19. [1913 Webster] 5. To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for. [1913 Webster] Think ye that we excuse ourselves to you? --2 Cor. xii. 19. Syn: To vindicate; exculpate; absolve; acquit. Usage: - To Pardon, Excuse, Forgive. A superior pardons as an act of mercy or generosity; either a superior or an equal excuses. A crime, great fault, or a grave offence, as one against law or morals, may be pardoned; a small fault, such as a failure in social or conventional obligations, slight omissions or neglects may be excused. Forgive relates to offenses against one's self, and punishment foregone; as, to forgive injuries or one who has injured us; to pardon grave offenses, crimes, and criminals; to excuse an act of forgetfulness, an unintentional offense. Pardon is also a word of courtesy employed in the sense of excuse. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Excuse \Ex*cuse"\, n. [Cf. F. excuse. See Excuse, v. t.] 1. The act of excusing, apologizing, exculpating, pardoning, releasing, and the like; acquittal; release; absolution; justification; extenuation. [1913 Webster] Pleading so wisely in excuse of it. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. That which is offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or irregular deportment; apology; as, an excuse for neglect of duty; excuses for delay of payment. [1913 Webster] Hence with denial vain and coy excuse. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 3. That which excuses; that which extenuates or justifies a fault. "It hath the excuse of youth." --Shak. [1913 Webster] If eyes were made for seeing. Then beauty is its own excuse for being. --Emerson. Syn: See Apology. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

excuse n 1: 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" [syn: excuse, alibi, exculpation, self-justification] 2: a note explaining an absence; "he had to get his mother to write an excuse for him" 3: a poor example; "it was an apology for a meal"; "a poor excuse for an automobile" [syn: apology, excuse] v 1: accept an excuse for; "Please excuse my dirty hands" [syn: excuse, pardon] 2: grant exemption or release to; "Please excuse me from this class" [syn: excuse, relieve, let off, exempt] 3: 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" [syn: excuse, explain] 4: defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning; "rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior"; "he rationalized his lack of success" [syn: apologize, apologise, excuse, justify, rationalize, rationalise] 5: ask for permission to be released from an engagement [syn: excuse, beg off] 6: excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with; "excuse someone's behavior"; "She condoned her husband's occasional infidelities" [syn: excuse, condone]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:

187 Moby Thesaurus words for "excuse": abject apology, absolution, absolve, acknowledgment, acquit, acquittal, acquittance, alibi, alibi out of, allow, amnesty, apologize for, apology, basis, be blind to, blind, breast-beating, cause, clear, clearance, clearing, cloak, color, compurgation, condonation, condone, confession, contrition, cop-out, cover, cover story, cover with excuses, cover-up, decontaminate, defence, defend, defense, destigmatization, destigmatize, destigmatizing, device, discharge, disculpation, dismiss, dismissal, dispense, dispense from, dispense with, disregard, escape, evasion, except, exculpate, exculpation, exempt, exempt from, exemption, exonerate, exoneration, explain, explanation, extenuate, extenuation, facade, feint, forgive, forgiveness, foundation, free, front, give absolution, give dispensation from, gloss, gloss over, grace, grant amnesty to, grant forgiveness, grant immunity, grant remission, grounds, guise, handle, heedlessness, ignore, immunity, indemnity, indulgence, justification, justify, lame excuse, let go, let off, liberate, lie out of, likely story, locus standi, loophole, make apology for, makeshift, mask, mea culpa, mitigate, mitigation, nonpros, offer excuse for, ostensible motive, out, overlook, palliate, palliation, pardon, pass over, penitence, permit, plea, plead ignorance, poor excuse, pretense, pretension, pretext, protestation, public motive, purgation, purge, purging, put-off, quash the charge, quietus, quittance, rational ground, rationale, rationalization, rationalize, reason, reason for, reason why, redemption, refuge, regrets, release, relieve, remise, remission, remission of sin, remit, reprieve, right, save the necessity, screen, semblance, set free, sham, shift, show, shrift, shrive, shrug off, smoke screen, spare, sparing, squirm out of, stalking-horse, stall, stated cause, stopgap, story, stratagem, substitute, subterfuge, the big idea, the idea, the whatfor, the wherefore, the why, trick, underlying reason, varnish, veil, verdict of acquittal, vindicate, vindication, warrant, way out, whitewash, wink at, withdraw the charge, worm out of
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

EXCUSE. A reason alleged for the doing or not doing a thing. This word presents two ideas differing essentially from each other. In one case an excuse may be made in, order to own that the party accused is not guilty; in another, by showing that though guilty, he is less so, than he appears to be. Take, for example, the case of a sheriff who has an execution against an individual, and who in performance of his duty, arrests him; in an action by the defendant against the sheriff, the latter may prove the facts, and this shall be a sufficient excuse for him: this is an excuse of the first kind, or a complete justification; the sheriff was guilty of no offence. But suppose, secondly, that the sheriff has an execution against Paul, and by mistake, and without any malicious design, be arrests Peter instead of Paul; the fact of his having the execution against Paul and the mistake being made, will not justify the sheriff, but it will extenuate and excuse his conduct, and this will be an excuse of the second kind. 3. Persons are sometimes excused for the commission of acts, which ordinarily are crimes, either because they had no intention of doing wrong, or because they had no power of judging, and therefore had no criminal will (q.v.); or having power, of judging they had no choice, and were compelled by necessity. Among the first class may be placed infants under the age of discretion, lunatics, and married women committing an offence in the presence of their husbands, not malum in se, as treason or murder; 1 Hale's P. C. 44, 45 or in offences relating to the domestic concern or management of the house, as the keeping of a bawdy house. Hawk. b. 1, c. 1, s. 12. Among acts of the second kind may be classed, the beating or killing another in self-defence; the destruction of property in order to prevent a more serious calamity, as the tearing down of a house on fire, to prevent its spreading to the neighboring property, and the like. See Dalloz, Dict. h.t.