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5 definitions found
 for excuse
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Excuse \Ex*cuse"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Excused; p. pr. & vb.
     n. Excusing.] [OE. escusen, cusen, OF. escuser, excuser, F.
     excuser, fr. L. excusare; ex out + causa cause, causari to
     plead. See Cause.]
     1. To free from accusation, or the imputation of fault or
        blame; to clear from guilt; to release from a charge; to
        justify by extenuating a fault; to exculpate; to absolve;
        to acquit.
        [1913 Webster]
              A man's persuasion that a thing is duty, will not
              excuse him from guilt in practicing it, if really
              and indeed it be against Gog's law.   --Abp. Sharp.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. To pardon, as a fault; to forgive entirely, or to admit to
        be little censurable, and to overlook; as, we excuse
        irregular conduct, when extraordinary circumstances appear
        to justify it.
        [1913 Webster]
              I must excuse what can not be amended. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. To regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to
        overlook; to pardon.
        [1913 Webster]
              And in our own (excuse some courtly stains.)
              No whiter page than Addison remains.  --Pope.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. To free from an impending obligation or duty; hence, to
        disengage; to dispense with; to release by favor; also, to
        remit by favor; not to exact; as, to excuse a forfeiture.
        [1913 Webster]
              I pray thee have me excused.          --xiv. 19.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make
        apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or
        indulgence for.
        [1913 Webster]
              Think ye that we excuse ourselves to you? --2 Cor.
                                                    xii. 19.
     Syn: To vindicate; exculpate; absolve; acquit.
     Usage: - To Pardon, Excuse, Forgive. A superior pardons
            as an act of mercy or generosity; either a superior or
            an equal excuses. A crime, great fault, or a grave
            offence, as one against law or morals, may be
            pardoned; a small fault, such as a failure in social
            or conventional obligations, slight omissions or
            neglects may be excused. Forgive relates to offenses
            against one's self, and punishment foregone; as, to
            forgive injuries or one who has injured us; to pardon
            grave offenses, crimes, and criminals; to excuse an
            act of forgetfulness, an unintentional offense. Pardon
            is also a word of courtesy employed in the sense of
            [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Excuse \Ex*cuse"\, n. [Cf. F. excuse. See Excuse, v. t.]
     1. The act of excusing, apologizing, exculpating, pardoning,
        releasing, and the like; acquittal; release; absolution;
        justification; extenuation.
        [1913 Webster]
              Pleading so wisely in excuse of it.   --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. That which is offered as a reason for being excused; a
        plea offered in extenuation of a fault or irregular
        deportment; apology; as, an excuse for neglect of duty;
        excuses for delay of payment.
        [1913 Webster]
              Hence with denial vain and coy excuse. --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. That which excuses; that which extenuates or justifies a
        fault. "It hath the excuse of youth." --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
              If eyes were made for seeing.
              Then beauty is its own excuse for being. --Emerson.
     Syn: See Apology.
          [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to
           keep a promise etc.; "he kept finding excuses to stay";
           "every day he had a new alibi for not getting a job"; "his
           transparent self-justification was unacceptable" [syn:
           excuse, alibi, exculpation, self-justification]
      2: a note explaining an absence; "he had to get his mother to
         write an excuse for him"
      3: a poor example; "it was an apology for a meal"; "a poor
         excuse for an automobile" [syn: apology, excuse]
      v 1: accept an excuse for; "Please excuse my dirty hands" [syn:
           excuse, pardon]
      2: grant exemption or release to; "Please excuse me from this
         class" [syn: excuse, relieve, let off, exempt]
      3: serve as a reason or cause or justification of; "Your need to
         sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work"; "Her
         recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again"
         [syn: excuse, explain]
      4: defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by
         reasoning; "rationalize the child's seemingly crazy
         behavior"; "he rationalized his lack of success" [syn:
         apologize, apologise, excuse, justify, rationalize,
      5: ask for permission to be released from an engagement [syn:
         excuse, beg off]
      6: excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with;
         "excuse someone's behavior"; "She condoned her husband's
         occasional infidelities" [syn: excuse, condone]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  187 Moby Thesaurus words for "excuse":
     abject apology, absolution, absolve, acknowledgment, acquit,
     acquittal, acquittance, alibi, alibi out of, allow, amnesty,
     apologize for, apology, basis, be blind to, blind, breast-beating,
     cause, clear, clearance, clearing, cloak, color, compurgation,
     condonation, condone, confession, contrition, cop-out, cover,
     cover story, cover with excuses, cover-up, decontaminate, defence,
     defend, defense, destigmatization, destigmatize, destigmatizing,
     device, discharge, disculpation, dismiss, dismissal, dispense,
     dispense from, dispense with, disregard, escape, evasion, except,
     exculpate, exculpation, exempt, exempt from, exemption, exonerate,
     exoneration, explain, explanation, extenuate, extenuation, facade,
     feint, forgive, forgiveness, foundation, free, front,
     give absolution, give dispensation from, gloss, gloss over, grace,
     grant amnesty to, grant forgiveness, grant immunity,
     grant remission, grounds, guise, handle, heedlessness, ignore,
     immunity, indemnity, indulgence, justification, justify,
     lame excuse, let go, let off, liberate, lie out of, likely story,
     locus standi, loophole, make apology for, makeshift, mask,
     mea culpa, mitigate, mitigation, nonpros, offer excuse for,
     ostensible motive, out, overlook, palliate, palliation, pardon,
     pass over, penitence, permit, plea, plead ignorance, poor excuse,
     pretense, pretension, pretext, protestation, public motive,
     purgation, purge, purging, put-off, quash the charge, quietus,
     quittance, rational ground, rationale, rationalization,
     rationalize, reason, reason for, reason why, redemption, refuge,
     regrets, release, relieve, remise, remission, remission of sin,
     remit, reprieve, right, save the necessity, screen, semblance,
     set free, sham, shift, show, shrift, shrive, shrug off,
     smoke screen, spare, sparing, squirm out of, stalking-horse, stall,
     stated cause, stopgap, story, stratagem, substitute, subterfuge,
     the big idea, the idea, the whatfor, the wherefore, the why, trick,
     underlying reason, varnish, veil, verdict of acquittal, vindicate,
     vindication, warrant, way out, whitewash, wink at,
     withdraw the charge, worm out of

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  EXCUSE. A reason alleged for the doing or not doing a thing. This word 
  presents two ideas differing essentially from each other. In one case an 
  excuse may be made in, order to own that the party accused is not guilty; in 
  another, by showing that though guilty, he is less so, than he appears to 
  be. Take, for example, the case of a sheriff who has an execution against an 
  individual, and who in performance of his duty, arrests him; in an action by 
  the defendant against the sheriff, the latter may prove the facts, and this 
  shall be a sufficient excuse for him: this is an excuse of the first kind, 
  or a complete justification; the sheriff was guilty of no offence. But 
  suppose, secondly, that the sheriff has an execution against Paul, and by 
  mistake, and without any malicious design, be arrests Peter instead of Paul; 
  the fact of his having the execution against Paul and the mistake being 
  made, will not justify the sheriff, but it will extenuate and excuse his 
  conduct, and this will be an excuse of the second kind. 
       3. Persons are sometimes excused for the commission of acts, which 
  ordinarily are crimes, either because they had no intention of doing wrong, 
  or because they had no power of judging, and therefore had no criminal will 
  (q.v.); or having power, of judging they had no choice, and were compelled 
  by necessity. Among the first class may be placed infants under the age of 
  discretion, lunatics, and married women committing an offence in the 
  presence of their husbands, not malum in se, as treason or murder; 1 Hale's 
  P. C. 44, 45 or in offences relating to the domestic concern or management 
  of the house, as the keeping of a bawdy house. Hawk. b. 1, c. 1, s. 12. 
  Among acts of the second kind may be classed, the beating or killing another 
  in self-defence; the destruction of property in order to prevent a more 
  serious calamity, as the tearing down of a house on fire, to prevent its 
  spreading to the neighboring property, and the like. See Dalloz, Dict. h.t. 

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