Meaning of excuse

ex•cuse

Pronunciation: (v.ik-skyz'n.ik-skys'), [key]
— v., n. -cused, -cus•ing,
—v.t.
  1. to regard or judge with forgiveness or indulgence; pardon or forgive; overlook (a fault, error, etc.): Excuse his bad manners.
  2. to offer an apology for; seek to remove the blame of: He excused his absence by saying that he was ill.
  3. to serve as an apology or justification for; justify: Ignorance of the law excuses no one.
  4. to release from an obligation or duty: to be excused from jury duty.
  5. to seek or obtain exemption or release for (oneself&hasp;): to excuse oneself from a meeting.
  6. to refrain from exacting; remit; dispense with: to excuse a debt.
  7. to allow (someone) to leave: If you'll excuse me, I have to make a telephone call.
  8. (used as a polite expression, as when addressing a stranger, when interrupting or disagreeing with someone, or to request repetition of what has just been said.)
—n.
  1. an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.: His excuse for being late was unacceptable.
  2. a ground or reason for excusing or being excused: Ignorance is no excuse.
  3. the act of excusing someone or something.
  4. a pretext or subterfuge: He uses his poor health as an excuse for evading all responsibility.
  5. an inferior or inadequate specimen of something specified: That coward is barely an excuse for a man. Her latest effort is a poor excuse for a novel.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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