Definition of apology in English:

apology

noun

  • 1A regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure:

    ‘we owe you an apology’
    ‘my apologies for the delay’
    • ‘I didn't even acknowledge her apology, and I didn't plan on ever acknowledging her apology.’
    • ‘She recognized it as an unspoken apology and smiled wryly as she continued.’
    • ‘He has made mistakes, as he himself acknowledged during a televised apology last weekend.’
    • ‘But he says he's principally taking action because he feels he's owed an apology.’
    • ‘But the guarded apology and the honest admission of fallibility were important signals nonetheless.’
    • ‘They extended to one another signs of affection and goodwill and offered apologies for past offences.’
    • ‘I owe the rather wonderful Jane a big apology for not having yet acknowledged perhaps the nicest and most unexpected birthday greeting.’
    • ‘She made a quick effort to calm her and smiled her apology at me.’
    • ‘She's an amazing techno DJ and I think you owe her an apology.’
    • ‘My apologies for not acknowledging the donations.’
    • ‘He acknowledged his apology couldn't make the incident and hurt go away for the victim.’
    • ‘A few professors glare at me and I smile a meek apology before turning my attention back to my friends.’
    • ‘This may be a very personal question so apologies if I cause offence.’
    • ‘A few girls giggled and a brown-haired boy yelled out an apology amidst a smile.’
    • ‘She dismissed his apology with an impish smile, ‘Nothing I haven't heard before.’’
    • ‘No apology for failure to deliver on costly contracts or to adopt more flexible and consumer-friendly policies.’
    • ‘She smiles understandingly at my apology and takes my hand, easing my guilt.’
    • ‘Jason smiled and accepted her apology in stride.’
    • ‘He nodded in acknowledgement of her apology but said nothing.’
    • ‘The female supervisor, working in accounting, after perfunctorily acknowledging the apology, did not want to discuss the issue further.’
    expression of regret, one's regrets
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    1. 1.1apologies A formal expression of regret at being unable to attend a meeting or social function:
      ‘Robert can't come and sends his apologies’
      • ‘He sends his apologies for being unable to appear today.’
      • ‘He was the only public representative to attend the meeting although a number of others had forwarded apologies.’
      • ‘The minutes of previous meetings showed that he offered his apologies to the November meeting and attended the December meeting.’
      • ‘I was sorry to hear about Christopher, my apologies for not attending the funeral; I was up to my neck in Borneo jungle.’
      • ‘At the February meeting of the Association three new members were welcomed and despite some apologies the meeting was very well attended.’
      • ‘By October the Courts Service had conveyed apologies that no one would be attending the meeting.’
      • ‘Other councillors, who were unable to attend, sent their apologies and offered their support.’
      • ‘Under local government rules, any councillor who does not attend meetings for six months without sending apologies can be disqualified from the council.’
      • ‘Have been severely incapacitated by latest pregnancy symptoms so apologies for absence.’
      • ‘Lunchtime came and went, with Harold bringing a tray of simple sandwiches along the explanation that Mr. Lake had to step out for a meeting and sent his apologies.’
      • ‘She thanked them for their generous donation on behalf of the Kidney Foundation and gave apologies from the people who were unable to attend.’
      • ‘Many farmers sent their apologies for not attending Malhamdale Show.’
      • ‘Those who attended, and my apologies to the embassy for the fact that another appointment running over time unfortunately made me miss the event, spoke highly of the food they sampled.’
      • ‘Twenty eight people attended, with seven sending formal apologies.’
      • ‘I am afraid that I will have to tender my apologies to that meeting……’
      • ‘He welcomed a large attendance to the meeting and there were apologies from three members.’
  • 2an apology forA very poor or inadequate example of:

    ‘we were shown into an apology for a bedroom’
    • ‘Its American cousin makes a poor apology for a nest, it is true, merely a loose bundle or platform of sticks, as flimsily put together as a dove's nest.’
    • ‘It is all very well to talk about Pub City and Fun City, but it all happens in this poor apology of a downtown, a very long way off from the workplace that gets longer by the day with every additional vehicle they buy.’
    • ‘But in this sorry apology for a summer, show day on Sunday dawned with glorious sunshine and warm temperatures.’
    travesty of, excuse for, inadequate example of, poor imitation of, poor substitute for, pale shadow of, mockery of, caricature of
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  • 3

    another term for apologia
    • ‘Mr Clarke argues the same case, with added apologies for restricting personal freedom.’
    • ‘We can write letters to foreign newspapers, websites, post personal apologies on our blogs.’
    • ‘The claim ‘I was striving to advance human knowledge’ should be regarded as a stout ethical defence, not an apology.’
    defence, apologia, justification, vindication
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Phrases

  • with apologies to

    • Used to introduce a parody or adaptation of a particular person's work:

      ‘here, with apologies to Rudyard Kipling, is a more apt version of ‘If’’
      • ‘Walker's story, with apologies to Laura Ingalls Wilder, is called ‘The Longest Winter’.’
      • ‘Or, to put it negatively, and with apologies to (the heirs and assigns of) Jacqueline Susann: Once is Not Enough.’
      • ‘This editorial begins with apologies to former President Clinton's campaign manager James Carville for the paraphrasing of his now famous motto.’
      • ‘But, with apologies to Neil Armstrong, that's one small step for mankind at Wrigley.’
      • ‘‘And with apologies to W B Yeats, I believe that ‘things can come together, and that the centre can hold’.’
      • ‘Kovaka offers his verse with apologies to early-century poet and humorist Franklin Pierce Adams, author of one of the best-titled books of all time, the 1911 Tobogganing on Parnassus.’
      • ‘Here's a beginning, with apologies to Sarah Waters and Michel Faber (and a nod to George MacDonald Fraser).’
      • ‘The lesson I learned, with apologies to Hamlet, is that the play's not the thing wherein we'll catch the conscience of a prosecutor.’
      • ‘But there is a time, with apologies to Jose Limon and Ecclesiastes, to pursue a column, and there is a time to retire a column.’
      • ‘My most recent working life has been in health, housing, and Treaty settlements, and, with apologies to St Paul, the greatest of these is Treaty settlements.’
      • ‘So, with apologies to Karl Marx and Margaret Thatcher, the rallying cry should be: ‘Localists of the World Unite - There is an Alternative’.’
      • ‘Second, with apologies to the noted feminist who first used the comparison in another way, a badge resembles a gun about as much as a fish resembles a bicycle.’
      • ‘So with apologies to Graham Greene, it behoves us to ask: is it truly the end of the affair between these two economic behemoths?’
      • ‘Editor's note: An excerpt of a script treatment now making the rounds in Hollywood is reprinted here, with apologies to Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola.’
      • ‘A largely scientifically correct version of an imaginary radio broadcast with apologies to HG Welles.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (denoting a formal defence against an accusation): from French apologie, or via late Latin from Greek apologia a speech in one's own defence, from apo away + -logia (see -logy).

Pronunciation

apology

/əˈpɒlədʒi/