Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.
a bad excuse is better than none
Offering an excuse, no matter how ridiculous, creates the possibility that others might accept it (as opposed to offering no excuse at all). They'll be furious with you if you show up late for no reason. A bad excuse is better than none! A: "I can't tell my teacher that the dog ate my homework!" B: "Come on, a bad excuse is better than none."
Can I be excused?
A request to leave something in particular, often the dinner table. OK, I ate all of my vegetables—can I be excused now?
See also: can
Can you excuse us, please?
A phrase used to inform someone (or a group) that two or more people are leaving or need a moment of privacy. Could you excuse us, please? We have a train to catch. I need to talk to Tom for a minute—could you excuse us, please?
excuse (one) for (something)
To forgive one for something, often a minor indiscretion. Please excuse me for my lateness—the traffic was really bad tonight.
excuse (one) from (something)
To allow one's absence from something. I have a doctor's note that excuses me from class yesterday.
1. A polite phrase used after one has done something that does not adhere to proper etiquette. Oh, excuse me—I didn't mean to bump into you, ma'am. Petey, say "excuse me" after you burp!
2. A phrase said when one is trying to pass through a crowded area. This phrase is sometimes verbally shortened to 'scuse me. Excuse me, everyone, I have to get through with this cart.
3. An expression of politeness that precedes a possible disagreement or an upsetting question. Excuse me, sir, but didn't you specifically tell us to make that change last month?
4. An indignant response, often posed as a question. Excuse me? How can you say something that hurtful to me, your own mother? Well, excuse me for actually caring about your future, unlike you!
5. A request for one to repeat what they have said. Excuse me? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.
6. A phrase used when one is correcting a verbal mistake. We had 200, excuse me, 210 people at the event.
7. An apologetic phrase that precedes an interruption. Excuse me, sir, but your wife is calling on line two—she says it's urgent.
8. An apologetic phrase that precedes a departure. Excuse me, I have to leave early for a doctor's appointment. I'll see you all tomorrow.
pardon my French
Excuse my inappropriate language. Usually used humorously, especially around children, as if to suggest that an inappropriate word was in fact a word from a different language. A: "John, don't use language like that in front of the kids." B: "Oops, pardon my French, everyone!" Pardon my French, but this tasted like shit.
excuse my French
Excuse my inappropriate language. Usually used humorously, especially around children, as if to suggest that an inappropriate word was in fact a word from a different language. A: "John, don't use language like that in front of the kids." B: "Oops, excuse my French, everyone!" Excuse my French, but this tasted like shit.
bad excuse is better than none
Prov. If you offer some explanation for an unwanted action, there is a slight chance that it will be accepted and you will therefore not be in trouble, but if you have no explanation at all, you do not even have that slight chance. Fred: I can't believe we played cards till midnight! What will I tell my wife when she asks why I'm so late getting home? Bill: Tell her something came up at the office. Fred: But that's a lousy excuse. She'll never believe it. Bill: A bad excuse is better than none.
Could I be excused?
Would you give me permission to leave?; Would you give me permission to leave the table? (Also used with can or may in place of could.) Bill: I'm finished, Mom. Could I be excused? Mother: Yes, of course, when you use good manners like that.
See also: could
Could you excuse us, please?and Can you excuse us, please?; Would you excuse us, please?; Will you excuse us, please?
We must leave. I hope you will forgive us. (A polite way of announcing a departure.) Bill: Could you excuse us, please? We simply must rush off. Alice: So sorry you have to go. Come back when you can stay longer.
Excuse me.and Excuse, please.; Pardon (me).; 'Scusc (me).; 'Scusc, please.
1. an expression asking forgiveness for some minor social violation, such as belching or bumping into someone. ('Scuse is colloquial, and the apostrophe is not always used.) John: Ouch! Bob: Excuse me. I didn't see you there. Mary: Oh! Ow! Sue: Pardon me. I didn't mean to bump into you. Tom: Ouch! Mary: Oh, dear! What happened? Tom: You stepped on my toe. Mary: Excuse me. I'm sorry.
2. Please let me through.; Please let me by. Tom: Excuse me. I need to get past. Bob: Oh, sorry. I didn't know I was in the way. Mary: Pardon me. Sue: What? Mary: Pardon me. I want to get past you.
1. . to forgive someone. (Usually with me. Said when interrupting or when some other minor offense has been committed. There are many mannerly uses of this expression.) John came in late and said, "Excuse me, please." John said "excuse me" when he interrupted our conversation. When John made a strange noise at the table, he said quietly, "Excuse me." John suddenly left the room saying, "Excuse me. I'll be right back."
2. to permit someone to leave; to permit someone to remain away from an event. The coach excused John from practice yesterday. The teacher excused John, and he ran quickly from the room.
excuse someone for something
to pardon someone for something or for (doing) something. Please excuse me for this mess. I've not been able to clean the house. I can't excuse myself for not doing it.
excuse someone from something
to permit a person not to do something; to exempt someone from something. Please excuse me from attending the meeting. I must excuse myself from the discussion.
He who excuses himself accuses himself.
Prov. By apologizing for something, you admit that you did it. Maybe I should tell my boss I'm sorry for breaking the copy machine. On the other hand, he who excuses himself accuses himself.
Ignorance (of the law) is no excuse (for breaking it).
Prov. Even if you do not know that something is against the law, you can still be punished for doing it. (An ancient legal principle.) Police officer: I'm giving you a speeding ticket. Motorist: But I didn't know I was exceeding the speed limit! Police officer: Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it. Terry protested that he didn't know it was illegal to break the windows of an abandoned building, but the judge informed him that ignorance of the law was no excuse.
May I be excused?
May I leave this place, please?; May I leave to use the toilet? Nature calls. May I be excused? The student raised her hand and said, "Teacher, may I be excused?"
See also: may
Pardon my French,and Excuse my French.
Inf. Excuse my use of swear words or taboo words. (Does not refer to real French.) Pardon my French, but this is a hell of a day. What she needs is a kick in the ass, if you'll excuse my French.
use someone or something as an excuse
to blame someone or something (for a failure). (See also use someone or something as something.) John used his old car as an excuse for not going to the meeting. My husband was sick in bed, and I used him as an excuse.
Would you excuse me?
1. a polite question that essentially announces one's departure. (Compare this with Could I be excused?; Excuse me.) Jane: Would you excuse me? I have to get home now. Andy: Oh, sure. I'll see you to the door. Rising to leave, Jane said, "Would you excuse me?" and left by the rear door.
2. . a polite way to request passage through or by a group of people; a way to request space to exit an elevator. There were two people talking in the corridor, blocking it. Tom said, "Would you excuse me?" They stepped aside. Fred: Would you excuse me? This is my floor. Sally: Sure. It's mine, too.
1. You may leave the room, the table, etc. (Said in response to May I be excused?) Mother: Are you finished, Tom? Tom: Yes, ma'am. Mother: You're excused. Bill (raising his hand): Can I leave the room? I have to go get my books off my bike. Teacher: You're excused. Bill: Thanks.
2. You must leave the room or the premises. (Typically said at the end of a scolding.) Father: I've heard quite enough of this nonsense, Tom. You're excused. Tom: Sorry. Andy: That is the end of this conversation. You're excused. Bob: But, there's more.
3. You are forgiven for belching or for some other breach of strict etiquette. (Said in response to Excuse me.) Tom (after belching): Excuse me. Father: You're excused. Sally: Excuse me for being so noisy. Mother: You're excused.
1. Also, I beg your pardon, pardon me. Forgive me, as in Excuse me, please let me pass, or Pardon me for asking, or I beg your pardon, I don't think so. These phrases are used as an apology for interrupting a conversation, bumping into someone, asking a speaker to repeat something, politely disagreeing with something said, and so on. The first dates from about 1600, the first variant from about 1800, the second from the mid-1700s.
2. Also, excuse oneself. Allow or ask to leave or be released from an obligation. For example, Please excuse me, I have to leave now, or I asked the judge to excuse me from jury duty. [1920s]
pardon my FrenchINFORMAL
People say pardon my French to apologize in a humorous way for using a rude word. What a bunch of a-holes, pardon my French.
excuse (or pardon) my Frenchused to apologize for swearing. informal
French has been used since the late 19th century as a euphemism for bad language.
1992 Angela Lambert A Rather English Marriage A loony can change a bloody toilet-roll, pardon my French.
1 used before you do or say something that might annoy somebody, or to get somebody’s attention: Excuse me, is anybody sitting here? ♢ Excuse me, could you tell me the time, please?
2 used for saying sorry or disagreeing with somebody, or for showing that you are annoyed: Excuse me, but I think you’re mistaken. ♢ Excuse me, sir, but you can’t park there!
3 used when you are leaving the room for a short time: Excuse me a minute, I’ll be right back.
4 (especially American English) used for saying sorry for something you have done: Excuse me, did I step on your toe?
5 (especially American English) used when you did not hear what somebody said and you want them to repeat it
exˌcuse/ˌpardon my ˈFrench(informal, humorous) used for saying you are sorry when you have used or are going to use rude or offensive language: Ouch, bloody hell! Oops, excuse my French! ♢ If you’ll pardon my French, he’s a bloody fool.
Pardon my Frenchand Excuse my French
sent. Excuse my use of swear words or taboo words.; Excuse my choice of vocabulary. (Does not refer to real French.) What she needs is a kick in the butt, if you’ll excuse my French.
Excuse my Frenchverb
See Pardon my French
(Well,) pardon me for living!and Excuse me for breathing! and Excuse me for living!
tv. I am SOOO sorry! (A very sarcastic response to a rebuke, seeming to regret the apparent offense of even living.) A: You are blocking my view. Please move. B: Well, pardon me for living! You say you were here first? Well excuse me for breathing!
See also: pardon
Excuse me for breathing!verb
Excuse me for living!verb
1. Used to acknowledge and ask forgiveness for an action that could cause offense.
2. Used to request that a statement be repeated.
pardon my French
Please excuse my language. In the days when language propriety was more of an issue than it is now, using a word or phrase that was “unfit for mixed company” was likely to lead to embarrassment. Since French was considered a racy language, people excused themselves with “pardon my French.”