excuse

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excuse me

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.
See also: excuse
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

excuse someone

 
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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