Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

excuse - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable] excuse pronunciation in American English /ɪkˈskjus/
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a reason that you give to explain why you have done something bad, or why you have not done something that you should have done
    a reasonable/valid/legitimate excuse
    excuse for: What excuse did they give for the delay?
    have an excuse: Joe was late, but as always he had an excuse.
    make/give an excuse: He made some excuse about having a lot of work to do.
    Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    a reason for doing something that you want to do
    excuse for: Birthdays are always a good excuse for a party.
    an excuse to do something: Emily was glad to have an excuse to change the subject.
    Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    American a note written by your parent or your doctor that explains why you have missed work or school
    You’ll have to bring an excuse from your mother.



… a feeling of pleasure you get from spending time doing what you want and not worrying about what other people are doing or saying

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

brain fade

a temporary inability to think clearly or remember information

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog