Did you know?

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

I beg your pardon - 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.



Thesaurus diagram

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.

  1. 1
    spoken formal used for asking someone to repeat something because you did not hear them. ‘Pardon?’ or ‘Sorry?’ are less formal ways of saying this

    ‘Are you ready to leave?’ ‘I beg your pardon?’ ‘I was just asking if you’re ready to leave.’

  2. 2
    spoken formal used for saying you are sorry because you have made a slight mistake, for example because you have stood on someone’s foot. ‘Sorry’ is a less formal way of saying this

    Oh, I beg your pardon, I didn’t realize this was your chair.

  3. 3
    spoken used for showing that you disagree very strongly with what someone has just said

    Jenny doesn’t concentrate when she’s driving.’ ‘I beg your pardon! She’s a very good driver!’

See also main entry: beg
quiz invitation


a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

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
Macmillan learn live love play