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;
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.
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.
I must excuse what can not be amended. --Shak.
3. To regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to
overlook; to pardon.
And in our own (excuse some courtly stains.)
No whiter page than Addison remains. --Pope.
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.
I pray thee have me excused. --xiv. 19.
5. To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make
apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or
Think ye that we excuse ourselves to you? --2 Cor.
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