apology

apology, apologia, excuse, plea, pretext, alibi denote the reason or reasons offered in explanation or defense of something (as an act, a policy, or a view).
In general use apology implies that one has been, at least apparently, in the wrong; it suggests either a defense that brings forward palliating circumstances or a frank acknowledgment of error with an expression of regret, by way of reparation
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“ Pardon us the interruption of thy devotion . . . ” —“My lord, there needs no such apology”—Shak.

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In its older sense, still found in very discriminating use, it implies no admission of guilt or error but a desire to make clear the grounds for some course, belief, or position that appears wrong to others
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apologies for various . . . doctrines of the faith— Newman

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Apologia is often used in place of apology in this latter sense
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Basil de Selincourt’s apologia for Ruskin in the Contemporary Review—The Nation

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Viscount Grey of Fallodon . . . the other day delivered an apologia for democracy— N. Y. Times

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Excuse implies an intent to remove or avoid blame (as for a neglect of duty, a failure to accomplish an end, or a violation of a rule, law, or custom)
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“Achilles will not to the field tomorrow”—“What’s his excuse?” —Shak.

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we have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse! —Kipling

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his pride . . . does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it— A usten

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Plea stresses argument or appeal to others for understanding or sympathy
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old Hepzibah’s scowl could no longer vindicate itself entirely on the plea of nearsightedness— Hawthorne

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he mumbled something about not having a license [for hunting], and was putting that in for a plea against the expedition— Meredith

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Pretext invariably suggests subterfuge and the offering of one reason or motive in place of the true one
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he made my health a pretext for taking all the heavy chores, long after I was as well as he v/as—Cather

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Alibi in law designates a plea of having been in another place at the time a crime was committed. In its broader use it implies a desire to shift blame or to evade punishment. It commonly connotes plausibility rather than truth in the excuse offered
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federal taxes are already being used as an alibi for cuts in local school budgets— Groves

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Analogous words: defense, justification, vindication (see corresponding verbs at MAINTAIN): extenuation, palliation, glozing, whitewashing (see corresponding verbs at PALLIATE): amends, *reparation

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Apology — A*pol o*gy, n.; pl. {Apologies}. [L. apologia, Gr. ?; ? from + ?: cf. F. apologie. See {Apologetic}.] 1. Something said or written in defense or justification of what appears to others wrong, or of what may be liable to disapprobation;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • apology — UK US /əˈpɒlədʒi/ noun (plural apologies) ► [C or U] the act of saying sorry or a message that says sorry: »An apology and a refund are being sent to the customer. issue/make an apology »The hotel has issued an apology for its mistake. »a letter… …   Financial and business terms

  • Apology — A*pol o*gy, v. i. To offer an apology. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] For which he can not well apology. J. Webster. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • apology — ► NOUN (pl. apologies) 1) a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure. 2) (an apology for) a very poor example of. 3) a justification or defence. ORIGIN Greek apologia a speech in one s own defence …   English terms dictionary

  • apology — [ə päl′ə jē] n. pl. apologies [LL(Ec) apologia < Gr, a speaking in defense < apologeisthai, to speak in defense < apo , from + logos, speech: see LOGIC] 1. a formal spoken or written defense of some idea, religion, philosophy, etc. 2. an …   English World dictionary

  • apology — index expiation Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • apology — (n.) early 15c., defense, justification, from L.L. apologia, from Gk. apologia a speech in defense, from apologeisthai to speak in one s defense, from apologos an account, story, from apo from, off (see APO (Cf. apo )) + logos speech (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • apology — [n] offering of remorse, regret acknowledgment, admission, amends, atonement, concession, confession, defense, excuse, explanation, extenuation, justification, mea culpa, mitigation, plea, redress, reparation, vindication; concepts 48,67 Ant.… …   New thesaurus

  • apology — a|pol|o|gy S3 [əˈpɔlədʒi US əˈpa: ] n plural apologies [Date: 1500 1600; : Late Latin; Origin: apologia written or spoken defense , from Greek, from apo ( APOCALYPSE) + logos speech ] 1.) [U and C] something that you say or write to show that you …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • apology — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ abject (esp. BrE), humble, profuse ▪ It was a mistake. My profuse apologies. ▪ heartfelt, profound, sincere ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

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