American English

Definition of excuse verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they excuse
    he / she / it excuses
    past simple excused
    -ing form excusing
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  1. 1to forgive someone for something that they have done, for example not being polite or making a small mistake excuse something Please excuse the mess. excuse somebody You must excuse my father—he's not always that rude. excuse somebody for something/for doing something I hope you'll excuse me for being so late. You can be excused for thinking that Ben is in charge (= he is not, but it is an easy mistake to make). excuse somebody doing something (formal) Excuse my interrupting you.
  2. 2excuse something excuse somebody/yourself (for something/for doing something) to make your or someone else's behavior seem less offensive by finding reasons for it synonym justify Nothing can excuse such rudeness.
  3. 3excuse somebody/yourself (from something) to allow someone to leave; to say in a polite way that you are leaving Now if you'll excuse me, I'm a very busy man. She excused herself and left the meeting early.
  4. 4[usually passive] excuse somebody (from something/from doing something) excuse somebody something to allow someone to not do something that they should normally do She was excused from giving evidence because of her age.
  5. Idioms
    excuse/pardon my French (informal)
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    used to say that you are sorry for swearing
    1. 1used to politely get someone's attention, especially someone you do not know Excuse me, is this the way to the train station?
    2. 2used to politely ask someone to move so that you can get past them Excuse me, could you let me through?
    3. 3used to say that you are sorry for interrupting someone or behaving in a slightly rude way Guy sneezed loudly. “Excuse me,” he said.
    4. 4used to disagree politely with someone Excuse me, but I don't think that's true.
    5. 5used to politely tell someone that you are going to leave or talk to someone else “Excuse me for a moment,” she said and left the room.
    6. 6used to say sorry for pushing someone or doing something wrong Oh, excuse me. I didn't see you there.
    7. 7excuse me? used when you did not hear what someone said and you want them to repeat it
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: excuse

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