From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishexcuseex‧cuse1 /ɪkˈskjuːz/ ●●● S1 verb [transitive] 1 → excuse me2 forgiveFORGIVE to forgive someone for doing something that is not seriously wrong, such as being rude or careless I’ll excuse you this time, but don’t be late again. Please excuse my bad handwriting.excuse somebody for (doing) something Please excuse me for being so late today. Smith can be excused for his lack of interest in the course (=his lack of interest is reasonable).RegisterIn informal situations, people often say sorry about …, sorry for doing ... or sorry I … rather than asking someone to excuse something:Sorry about my handwriting.Sorry for being so late, or Sorry I’m so late.3 from a dutyLET/ALLOW to allow someone not to do something that they are supposed to dobe excused from (doing) something Can I be excused from swimming today? I have a cold.Grammar Excuse is usually passive in this meaning.4 explainREASON to be or give a good reason for someone’s careless or offensive behaviour Nothing can excuse that kind of rudeness.5 from a placeLET/ALLOW to give someone permission to leave a place May I please be excused from the table?Grammar Excuse is usually passive in this meaning.6 → excuse yourself7 → excuse me (for living)!→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusexcuse• Penalties are negotiable, so always try to get penalty charges excused.• But it is worse it's also a history of mechanical idealism excusing criminal stupidity.• Kinney asked to be excused from his duties on the board.• Can I be excused from swimming today? I've got a cold.• She excuses herself a moment to prepare a tray of little snacks they urge her not to trouble herself to prepare.• Constance detected a change in the atmosphere as Giancarlo excused himself and walked down the steps to greet his last guest.• He does nothing to hide or excuse Jacob's cruelty.• I'll try to get them to excuse me from the meeting.• My accident and stunned expression seemed to excuse me, however.• I got the hiccups, excuse me.• He doesn't excuse mistakes, he simply won't allow them.• I didn't realize this was a formal party, so I hope you can excuse my appearance.• Excuse my brother if he talks too much, he's rather excitable.• I'm sorry, but that explanation doesn't excuse what he did.excuse somebody for (doing) something• No excuses were offered for a lacklustre performance on Saturday.• Then he excused himself for a meeting.• Kring excused himself for a moment.• Would you excuse me for a moment?• He himself had drunk one quick light beer before excusing himself for an early night.• You'll have to excuse me for being late - my car broke down.• The defense excused him for just cause.• People came and went and were excused, sometimes for obvious reasons, sometimes not.be excused from (doing) something• Please excuse Sherry from gym class today. She has had the flu.• He glanced over at me and then he excused himself from his conversation.• He has excused himself from a dinner meeting to return her call.• I excused myself from Mr Cardinal and moved towards the doors.• I learned that not knowing how to do a job would not excuse me from that job.• Such a model attempts to encourage the unbeliever to excuse the believer from the task of justifying theism.• We excuse you aides from most of your housekeeping duties to enable you to see to the patients.• She was sitting at the mirror in her room, having excused herself from her cousins' chatter minutes before.• Answering machine winks cheerfully, but it is only Mrs Body excusing herself from work tomorrow because of the funeral.excuseex‧cuse2 /ɪkˈskjuːs/ ●●● S3 noun [countable] 1 REASONa reason that you give to explain careless or offensive behaviourexcuse for (doing) something What’s your excuse for being late this time? I’m tired of listening to his excuses.► see thesaurus at reason2 REASONa reason that you invent to explain an action and to hide your real intentionsexcuse to do something I need an excuse to call her.excuse for The conference is just an excuse for a holiday in New York.3 → there is no excuse for something4 → make your excuses5 → a poor/rotten etc excuse for something6 American EnglishREASON a note written by your doctor or one of your parents saying that you were ill on a particular day SYN sick note British EnglishCOLLOCATIONS – Meanings 1 & 2verbsmake up/think up/invent an excuseI made up some excuse about my car breaking down.We’d better think up an excuse, fast.make excuses for somebody/something (=give reasons which try to explain why someone has made a mistake or behaved badly)His mother was always making excuses for her son's behaviour.use something as an excuseShe never complained or used her illness as an excuse.look for an excuseI began to look for excuses to avoid seeing him.give an excuseI'll have to give my boss some kind of excuse.believe/accept an excuseShe didn’t believe his excuse for one minute.have an excuseCompanies have no excuse for breaking the law.adjectivesa good excuseA sunny day is a good excuse to go to the beach.a wonderful excuse (=a very good excuse)A wedding is a wonderful excuse to buy a new outfit.a reasonable/plausible excuse (=one that other people will believe)If your train was cancelled, that is a perfectly reasonable excuse.a legitimate/valid excuse (=one that is true and that other people cannot criticize)He didn’t have a legitimate excuse for being late.the perfect excuseThe phone call gave me the perfect excuse to leave.a feeble/flimsy/weak excuse (=one that is difficult to believe)Joe muttered some feeble excuse about having a headache.a pathetic/lame excuse (=very weak)That’s the most pathetic excuse I’ve ever heard.the usual excuse/the same old excuseHe made the usual excuses for not coming.Whenever the trains are late, it's always the same old excuse.a convenient excuseThe rioting provided the government with a convenient excuse not to hold an election.phrasesuse every excuse in the book (=use every possible excuse)He used every excuse in the book to avoid seeing the doctor.at the slightest excuse (=for any reason, however unimportant)She comes to our house at the slightest excuse.
Examples from the Corpusexcuse• We shall use his perceived activities as an excuse for not growing up.• But Symington and his allies used it as an excuse to further postpone what is inevitable and right.• There were complaints by black youths of police harassment, the sus laws merely being used as an excuse for this.• He said his car had broken down, but it was just an excuse for coming home late.• Yet, after three years, it also sounded like an excuse.• I had to rush the decorators through, but I knew exactly what I wanted and I wouldn't take any excuse.• That is the most feeble excuse for failing a test that I have ever heard.• He doesn't make excuses when he gets something wrong.• D'Arquebus Senior's pedantic excuses made no sense.• Oh shut up Bill, I'm tired of listening to your excuses.excuse for (doing) something• My patients often use that as an excuse for chocolate binges, shopping binges, alcohol, and affairs.• Deprivation must not be an excuse for everything.• Looking for an excuse for a vacation, I picked the keys.• John Major seems to sympathise, but the voters can be excused for not yet noticing.• There were to be no excuses for him returning.• There are so many, many deferred projects here that I have no excuse for now.• The only excuse for the House of Lords is that it exists.• Mr Strine also gives readers excuses for his losses, such as injuries to key players or even the weather.excuse to do something• But Symington and his allies used it as an excuse to further postpone what is inevitable and right.• Neil Fraser looked tired and on edge, his wife was subdued and made an excuse to leave them early.• His ouster furnished Nixon with an excuse to send troops into Cambodiawhich now turned into a new battlefield.• I think it a good excuse to get away from his family.• How could she make excuses to Uncle Willi?• You imagine this war gives you the excuse to disobey me and do exactly as you wish.Origin excuse1 (1400-1500) Old French excuser, from Latin excusare, from causa “cause, explanation”