July 16, 2016
- excuse (verb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : to make apology for2 : to overlook or dismiss as of little importance3 a : to release from doing something b : to allow to leave4 : to be an acceptable reason for : justify
- How do you use it?
- "And Aslan said nothing either to excuse Peter or to blame him but merely stood looking at him with his great golden eyes." (C. S. Lewis, _The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe_)
- Are you a word wiz?
C. S. Lewis used "excuse" in the sentence above, but he could have chosen another word that means about the same thing. Which of these words do you think might also have worked in the sentence?There's no need to make excuses if you picked answer C. "Excuse," "condone," "pardon," and "forgive" all mean to demand neither punishment nor payment in return for a loss or wrong. "Excuse" suggests overlooking a fault or error by not criticizing or punishing the one responsible, as in "He excused them for being late." "Condone" suggests accepting without protest a blameworthy act or condition, as in "She does not condone cheating on taxes." "Pardon" suggests the freeing from a penalty that is due, as in "The governor pardoned the criminal." "Forgive" suggests giving up feelings of resentment and the desire for revenge, as in "She forgave him for being rude."