Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “excuse”

excuse

verb [T] uk   /ɪkˈskjuːz/ us  
B1 to forgive someone: Please excuse me for arriving late - the bus was delayed. Nothing can excuse that sort of behaviour. No amount of financial recompense can excuse the way in which the company carried out its policy. We cannot excuse him for these crimes. I asked the teacher if I could be excused from (= allowed not to do) hockey practice as my knee still hurt. Please excuse me from (= allow me to miss) the rest of the meeting - I've just received a phone call that requires my immediate attention. 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 politely ask 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 your seat? 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 politely ask someone to repeat something they have said because you have not heard it

excuse

noun [C] uk   /ɪkˈskjuːs/ us  
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 false reason 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 present somewhere: Please make my excuses at the meeting on Friday. make excuses to give false reasons why you cannot do something: You're always making excuses for not helping me.
(Definition of excuse from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of excuse?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “excuse” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

from the word go

from the start of something

Word of the Day

Countability – grammar codes

by Dom Glennon​​,
November 26, 2014
Advices and informations Have you ever noticed strange codes in square brackets on entries in Cambridge Dictionaries Online and wondered what they mean? These are grammar codes, giving you a brief summary of how that word behaves grammatically. More information can be obtained by hovering your cursor over the code, and there’s

Read More 

ped-text verb

November 24, 2014
to text someone while walking I’m ped-texting, I’m looking down at my phone, 75 percent of the time.

Read More