ex|cuse1 S2 [ıkˈskju:z] v [T]
1 excuse me
3¦(from a duty)¦
5¦(from a place)¦
6 excuse yourself
7 excuse me (for living)!
[Date: 1400-1500; : Old French; Origin: excuser, from Latin excusare, from causa 'cause, explanation']
1.) excuse mespoken
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) AmE 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 AmE 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 sb for (doing) sth
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 sb from (doing) sth
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: 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. See also: regret
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 /Ik'skju:z/ with the noun excuse /Ik'skju:s/ , which means a reason for doing something wrong, often an invented or false reason.
excuse 2
ex|cuse2 S3 [ıkˈskju:s] n
1.) a reason that you give to explain careless or offensive behaviour
excuse for (doing) sth
What's your excuse for being late this time?
I'm tired of listening to his excuses.
Fay's always making excuses for her husband's odd behavior.
I'm sure Mike has a good excuse for not coming.
plausible/legitimate/valid etc excuse
lame/feeble/pathetic excuse
That's a lame excuse.
2.) a reason that you invent to explain an action and to hide your real intentions
excuse to do sth
I need an excuse to call her.
excuse for
The conference is an excellent excuse for a few days' holiday by the sea.
Illness was used as an excuse so the defendant could avoid trial.
look for/find an excuse
They were looking for any excuse to start a fight.
I made an excuse at the first possible moment, and got up to leave.
The arrival of the doctor gave them an excuse to leave.
3.) there is no excuse for sth
used to say that someone's behaviour is too bad to be explained or accepted
There is no excuse for such rudeness.
4.) make your excuses
to explain why you are not able to do something
Please make my excuses at the meeting tomorrow.
5.) a poor/rotten etc excuse for sth
used when you think someone or something is very bad
He's a rotten excuse for a lawyer. Why on earth did you hire him?
6.) AmE a note written by your doctor or one of your parents saying that you were ill on a particular day
British Equivalent: sick note

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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