excuse Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “excuse” in the English Dictionary

"excuse" in British English

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excuseverb [T]

uk   /ɪkˈskjuːz/  us   /ɪkˈskjuːz/
B1 to ​forgive someone: Please excuse me forarriving late - the ​bus was ​delayed. Nothing can excuse that ​sort of ​behaviour. No ​amount of ​financialrecompense can excuse the way in which the ​companycarried out ​itspolicy. We cannot excuse him for these crimes. I ​asked the ​teacher if I could be excused from (= ​allowed not to do)hockeypractice as my ​knee still ​hurt. Please excuse me from (= ​allow me to ​miss) the ​rest of the ​meeting - I've just ​received a ​phonecall that ​requires my ​immediateattention.
excuse me
A1 a ​polite way of ​attracting someone's ​attention, ​especially of someone you do not ​know: Excuse me, does this ​bus go to ​Oxford Street?
used to ​politelyask someone to ​move so that you can ​walk past them: Excuse me, can I just get past?
used to ​tell someone ​politely that you are ​leaving: Excuse me a ​moment, I'll be with you ​shortly.
A2 used to say ​sorry for something you have done by ​accident: Did I take ​yourseat? Do excuse me.
said before ​disagreeing with someone: Excuse me but aren't you ​forgetting something?
US (UK pardon?, I beg your pardon?) used to ​politelyask someone to ​repeat something they have said because you have not ​heard it

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excusenoun [C]

uk   /ɪkˈskjuːs/  us   /ɪkˈskjuːs/
B1 a ​reason that you give to ​explain why you did something ​wrong: He'd ​better have a good excuse for being late. I've never ​known him to ​miss a ​meeting - I'm ​sure he'll have an excuse. There's no excuse for that ​sort of ​behaviour.
B1 a ​falsereason that you give to ​explain why you do something: [+ to infinitive] She was just ​looking for an excuse to ​call him. Any excuse for a ​holiday!
make your excuses
to ​explain why you cannot be ​presentsomewhere: Please make my excuses at the ​meeting on ​Friday.
make excuses
to give ​falsereasons why you cannot do something: You're always making excuses for not ​helping me.

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  • When I ​asked him why he was late, he gave me some excuse about having ​cartrouble.
  • I made up an excuse about having to ​look after the ​kids.
  • I don't ​want to go ​tonight but I can't ​think up a good excuse.
  • Whenever I ​ask him why his essay's late, he just comes out with the same ​old excuses.
  • You're always making excuses for not ​helping me.
(Definition of excuse from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"excuse" in American English

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excuseverb [T]

 us   /ɪkˈskjuz/
  • excuse verb [T] (FORGIVE)

to ​forgive someone: Please excuse me for being so late – there was a lot of ​traffic. It was hard to excuse him for ​treating me so ​badly.
excuse someone from
To excuse someone from an ​activity is to give that ​personpermission to ​stop doing it or not do it: I was excused from ​jury duty because I had to take ​care of my ​sickmother.
excusable
adjective  us   /ɪkˈskju·zə·bəl/
Considering her ​difficultchildhood, her ​behavior is excusable.
Idioms

excusenoun [C]

 us   /ɪkˈskjus/
the ​explanation given for ​badbehavior, ​absence, etc.: You’re always making excuses for not ​helping with the ​housework.
(Definition of excuse from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"excuse" in Business English

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excusenoun [C]

uk   us   /ɪkˈskjuːs/ US ( UK sick note) HR
a ​letter from a ​doctor saying that someone is too ill to go to ​work
(Definition of excuse from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“excuse” in British English

“excuse” in American English

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