Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1400-1500
Language: Old French
Origin: excuser, from Latin excusare, from causa 'cause, explanation'

excuse

1 verb
     
ex‧cuse1 S2 [transitive]
1

excuse me

spoken
a) used when you want to get someone's attention politely, especially when you want to ask a question:
Excuse me, can you tell me the way to the museum please?
b) used to say that you are sorry for doing something rude or embarrassing:
Oh, excuse me. I didn't know anyone was here.
c) used to ask someone politely to move so that you can walk past:
Excuse me, could I just squeeze past?
d) used to politely tell someone that you are leaving a place:
Excuse me a moment. I'll be right back.
e) used when you disagree with someone but want to be polite about it [= I'm sorry]:
Excuse me, but I don't think that's what he meant at all.
f) American English used to show that you disagree with someone or are very surprised or upset by what they have just said:
'You're going to pay, right?' 'Excuse me?'
g) especially American English used to ask someone to repeat something that they have just said [= pardon me]:
'What time is it?' 'Excuse me?' 'I asked you what time it is.'
2

forgive

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).
3

from a duty

[usually passive] to allow someone not to do something that they are supposed to do
excuse somebody from (doing) something
Can I be excused from swimming today? I have a cold.
4

explain

to be or give a good reason for someone's careless or offensive behaviour:
Nothing can excuse that kind of rudeness.
5

from a place

to give someone permission to leave a place:
May I please be excused from the table?
6

excuse yourself

to say politely that you need to leave a place:
Richard excused himself and went to his room.
7

excuse me (for living)!

spoken used when someone has offended you or told you that you have done something wrong
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

excuse me, pardon me, beg your pardon, sorry
excuse me and pardon me are polite expressions that you use when you do something that could be slightly embarrassing or rude, for example in the cases below. You usually use sorry to apologize after you have done something wrong. Use excuse me when you want to interrupt someone, say something to a person you do not know, or get past someone Excuse me, do you know the time? Excuse me, can I just reach across and get my bag? Use excuse me when you have to leave someone for a short time Excuse me for a moment while I make a call.excuse me can also be used, especially in American English, when you have not heard or understood what someone has said 'You're late.' 'Excuse me?' 'I said you're late.' 'Oh, sorry.' Speakers of British English usually use pardon 'My name is Timothy.' 'Pardon?' In American English, it is also possible to use pardon me in these situations. In British English, you usually say pardon me when you have done something slightly impolite such as burping or sneezing. In American English, you usually say excuse me.I beg your pardon is a rather old-fashioned expression used to apologize for doing something embarrassing or for making a mistake in what you have said There are 65 - I beg your pardon - 56 students on the course.!! Do not confuse the verb excuse with the noun excuse, which means a reason for doing something wrong, often an invented or false reason.

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