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 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.’
    • ‘But the guarded apology and the honest admission of fallibility were important signals nonetheless.’
    • ‘She's an amazing techno DJ and I think you owe her an apology.’
    • ‘My apologies for not acknowledging the donations.’
    • ‘A few girls giggled and a brown-haired boy yelled out an apology amidst a smile.’
    • ‘I didn't even acknowledge her apology, and I didn't plan on ever acknowledging her apology.’
    • ‘But he says he's principally taking action because he feels he's owed an apology.’
    • ‘Jason smiled and accepted her apology in stride.’
    • ‘The female supervisor, working in accounting, after perfunctorily acknowledging the apology, did not want to discuss the issue further.’
    • ‘He nodded in acknowledgement of her apology but said nothing.’
    • ‘He acknowledged his apology couldn't make the incident and hurt go away for the victim.’
    • ‘She smiles understandingly at my apology and takes my hand, easing my guilt.’
    • ‘He has made mistakes, as he himself acknowledged during a televised apology last weekend.’
    • ‘She recognized it as an unspoken apology and smiled wryly as she continued.’
    • ‘No apology for failure to deliver on costly contracts or to adopt more flexible and consumer-friendly policies.’
    • ‘They extended to one another signs of affection and goodwill and offered apologies for past offences.’
    • ‘She dismissed his apology with an impish smile, ‘Nothing I haven't heard before.’’
    • ‘This may be a very personal question so apologies if I cause offence.’
    • ‘A few professors glare at me and I smile a meek apology before turning my attention back to my friends.’
    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’
      • ‘The minutes of previous meetings showed that he offered his apologies to the November meeting and attended the December meeting.’
      • ‘By October the Courts Service had conveyed apologies that no one would be attending the meeting.’
      • ‘Under local government rules, any councillor who does not attend meetings for six months without sending apologies can be disqualified from the council.’
      • ‘Twenty eight people attended, with seven sending formal apologies.’
      • ‘At the February meeting of the Association three new members were welcomed and despite some apologies the meeting was very well attended.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many farmers sent their apologies for not attending Malhamdale Show.’
      • ‘He welcomed a large attendance to the meeting and there were apologies from three members.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He sends his apologies for being unable to appear today.’
      • ‘I was sorry to hear about Christopher, my apologies for not attending the funeral; I was up to my neck in Borneo jungle.’
      • ‘I am afraid that I will have to tender my apologies to that meeting……’
      • ‘He was the only public representative to attend the meeting although a number of others had forwarded 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.’
      • ‘Have been severely incapacitated by latest pregnancy symptoms so apologies for absence.’
      • ‘Other councillors, who were unable to attend, sent their apologies and offered their support.’
  • 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
    • ‘Aristides also, a believer earnestly devoted to our religion, left, like Quadratus, an apology for the faith, addressed to Adrian.’
    • ‘They create their similar-sounding covers with no apology, and little theoretical justification.’
    • ‘Consider his words, which can be read as an apology for the Court's shameful reasoning in Bowers.’
    • ‘Mr Clarke argues the same case, with added apologies for restricting personal freedom.’
    • ‘He wrote The pilgrim's regress: An allegorical apology for Christianity, reason and romanticism.’
    • ‘First, in arguing that atheism is unscientific I do not wish to present an apology for any theistic doctrine or any particular religious faith.’
    • ‘The claim ‘I was striving to advance human knowledge’ should be regarded as a stout ethical defence, not an apology.’
    • ‘Just war theory has in practice been little more than a religious apology for the excesses of empire.’
    • ‘The one twist in this otherwise predictable apology for capitalism is the draping of Marx in the clothes of capital.’
    • ‘The previous book is a more generic apology for the harmonization of religious and modern scientific worldviews.’
    • ‘We can write letters to foreign newspapers, websites, post personal apologies on our blogs.’
    • ‘We are frequently urged to understand the terrorists, but too often the call to understand is code for justification and apology.’
    • ‘His new book, despite some sensible and perceptive parts, eventually collapses into abject apology for modern capitalism in general and the United States in particular.’
    • ‘By way of apology and, indeed, justification, let me then remind the reader of the early career of one Albert Einstein.’
    • ‘All of this gives an untimely ring to Jorg Traeger's impassioned apology for Renaissance art as a religious art.’
    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’’
      • ‘This editorial begins with apologies to former President Clinton's campaign manager James Carville for the paraphrasing of his now famous motto.’
      • ‘Here's a beginning, with apologies to Sarah Waters and Michel Faber (and a nod to George MacDonald Fraser).’
      • ‘‘And with apologies to W B Yeats, I believe that ‘things can come together, and that the centre can hold’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So, with apologies to Karl Marx and Margaret Thatcher, the rallying cry should be: ‘Localists of the World Unite - There is an Alternative’.’
      • ‘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 Graham Greene, it behoves us to ask: is it truly the end of the affair between these two economic behemoths?’
      • ‘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, with apologies to Neil Armstrong, that's one small step for mankind at Wrigley.’
      • ‘Or, to put it negatively, and with apologies to (the heirs and assigns of) Jacqueline Susann: Once is Not Enough.’
      • ‘Walker's story, with apologies to Laura Ingalls Wilder, is called ‘The Longest Winter’.’
      • ‘A largely scientifically correct version of an imaginary radio broadcast with apologies to HG Welles.’
      • ‘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.’

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/