1a reason or explanation given to justify a fault or offence:there can be no excuse for any further delay the excuse that half the team failed to turn up a reason put forward to conceal the real reason for an action; a pretext:as an excuse to get out of the house she went to post a letter US a note written by a doctor or parent excusing a pupil from school.
(an excuse for
) informal a poor or inadequate example of:that pathetic excuse for a man!
1seek to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offence); try to justify:he did nothing to hide or excuse Jacob’s cruelty forgive (someone) for a fault or offence:you must excuse my brother he could be excused for feeling that he was born at the wrong time overlook or make allowances for:sit down—excuse the mess (of a fact) serve to mitigate (a person or act):his ability excuses most of his faults
2release (someone) from a duty or requirement:it will not be possible to excuse you from attendance [with two objects]:may I be excused hockey? (used in polite formulas) allow (someone) to leave a room or gathering:and now, if you’ll excuse us, duty calls
) say politely that one is leaving: I had to excuse myself and go out of the room
) (used by school pupils) be allowed to leave the room, especially to go to the toilet: please, Miss, can I be excused?