English dictionary

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English noun: excuse

1. excuse (communication) a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.

SamplesHe kept finding excuses to stay.
Every day he had a new alibi for not getting a job.
His transparent self-justification was unacceptable.

Synonymsalibi, exculpation, self-justification

Broader (hypernym)defence, defense, vindication

Narrower (hyponym)extenuation, mitigation

2. excuse (communication) a note explaining an absence

SamplesHe had to get his mother to write an excuse for him.

Broader (hypernym)billet, line, note, short letter

3. excuse (cognition) a poor example

SamplesIt was an apology for a meal.
A poor excuse for an automobile.


Broader (hypernym)example, illustration, instance, representative

English verb: excuse

1. excuse (communication) accept an excuse for

SamplesPlease excuse my dirty hands.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s somebody.
Something ----s somebody.
Something ----s something

Broader (hypernym)forgive

2. excuse (communication) grant exemption or release to

SamplesPlease excuse me from this class.

ExamplesSam cannot excuse Sue

Synonymsexempt, let off, relieve

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody.
Somebody ----s somebody PP

Broader (hypernym)absolve, free, justify

Narrower (hyponym)frank

3. excuse (communication) serve as a reason or cause or justification of

SamplesYour need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work.
Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again.


Pattern of useSomething ----s something

Broader (hypernym)justify, vindicate

Narrower (hyponym)alibi

4. excuse (communication) defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning

SamplesRationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior.
He rationalized his lack of success.

Synonymsapologise, apologize, justify, rationalise, rationalize

Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)defend, fend for, support

Narrower (hyponym)color, colour, extenuate, gloss, mitigate, palliate, plead

5. excuse (communication) ask for permission to be released from an engagement

Synonymsbeg off

Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody

Broader (hypernym)bespeak, call for, quest, request

6. excuse (communication) excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with

SamplesExcuse someone's behavior.
She condoned her husband's occasional infidelities.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something

Broader (hypernym)forgive

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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