Meaning of APOLOGIZE in English


1. to tell someone that you are sorry you did something

2. what you say to tell someone that you are sorry


to feel sorry for something you have done : ↑ REGRET/NOT REGRET

to feel sorry for someone who has a problem : ↑ SYMPATHIZE


1. to tell someone that you are sorry you did something

▷ say you are sorry /ˌseɪ juː əʳ ˈsɒriǁ-ˈsɑːri/ [verb phrase]

to tell someone you are sorry that you have upset them or done something that causes problems for them :

▪ Sometimes it’s not easy to say you are sorry.

say you are sorry (that)

▪ She finally arrived, and said she was sorry we had been kept waiting.

▷ say sorry /ˌseɪ ˈsɒriǁ-ˈsɑːri/ [verb phrase] especially spoken

to tell someone that you are sorry you have upset them or done something bad :

▪ She says she won’t see him again unless he says sorry.

say sorry to

▪ Go and say sorry to your mother, Andrew.

say sorry for (doing) something

▪ I don’t think I should say sorry for doing what at the time I believed to be right.

▷ apologize also apologise British /əˈpɒlədʒaɪzǁəˈpɑː-/ [intransitive verb]

to tell someone that you are sorry, especially in a formal situation or when you do not know the person well :

▪ I don’t know why I apologized, because I didn’t do anything wrong.

apologize for

▪ I must apologize for my son’s behaviour -- he isn’t usually this moody.

apologize for doing something

▪ The bank wrote to apologise for overcharging me.

apologize to

▪ The US has apologized to Britain for the accident that cost nine British lives.

apologize profusely

apologize very much

▪ She rushed into the hotel, apologizing profusely for being so late.

▷ be apologetic /biː əˌpɒləˈdʒetɪk◂ǁ-əˌpɑː-/ [verb phrase]

to keep saying you are sorry because you feel guilty or embarrassed about something you have done :

▪ The manager was apologetic, but said that Sue would have to contact head office if she wanted a refund.

be apologetic about

▪ He was most apologetic about not being able to come to the party.

▷ apology /əˈpɒlədʒiǁəˈpɑː-/ [countable/uncountable noun]

something that you say or write to tell someone that you are sorry :

▪ The story was full of lies, and the paper had to print an apology.

▪ In a written apology, the BBC admitted they had misled the public.

accept somebody’s apology/apologies


▪ Please accept our apologies for taking so long to deliver the materials you requested.

owe somebody an apology

▪ I never thought she’d get the job. I guess I owe her an apology.

demand an apology

▪ Blake was wrongfully arrested and is now demanding an apology from the police.

letter of apology

▪ As he reflected on his appalling behaviour, he mentally composed a letter of apology to his host.

2. what you say to tell someone that you are sorry

▷ sorry/I’m sorry /ˈsɒri, aɪm ˈsɒriǁ-ˈsɑːri/ spoken

say this to tell someone you are sorry that you upset them or caused problems for them; you can also say this as a polite way of excusing yourself for a small mistake :

▪ I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude.

▪ Sorry, did I step on your foot?

I’m very/really/terribly sorry

▪ I’m really sorry, Joanna. I’ve broken one of your glasses.

sorry/I’m sorry (that)

▪ I’m sorry that I shouted at you.

▪ Sorry we’re late, Shelley.

sorry/I’m sorry about

▪ Sorry about all the noise.

sorry/I’m sorry to do something

▪ I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to discuss my essay.

sorry/I’m sorry for (doing something)

▪ I’m sorry for barging in without ringing the bell.

▷ excuse me /ɪkˈskjuːz miː/ especially American, spoken

say this to tell someone you are sorry because you accidentally touched them or made a small or embarrassing mistake :

▪ Oh, excuse me, is that your bag I just stood on?

▪ Excuse me - I didn’t realize there was anyone in here.

▷ I beg your pardon /aɪ ˌbeg jɔːʳ ˈpɑːʳdn/ formal spoken

say this when you make a small mistake and you want to say sorry politely :

▪ ‘That’s my pen.’ ‘Oh, I beg your pardon - I thought it was mine.’

▷ I apologize also I apologise British /aɪ əˈpɒlədʒaɪzǁ-əˈpɑː-/

say this to apologize in a fairly formal way, for example when you have upset someone or done something wrong or unfair :

▪ You were right and I was wrong. I apologize.

▪ I apologize in advance if anyone’s offended by this.

I apologize for

▪ I apologise for writing to you like this, out of the blue.

▷ I owe you an apology /aɪ ˌəʊ juː ən əˈpɒlədʒiǁ-əˈpɑː-/

say this when you have done something that you later find out to be wrong or unfair :

▪ It seems I owe you an apology -- I was supposed to phone you on Saturday night.

I owe you an apology for (doing something)

▪ I think I owe you an apology for my behaviour the other night.

▷ forgive me /fəʳˈgɪv miː/

say this when you have done something wrong or have upset someone, or when you are going to say or ask something that might seem rude or offensive :

▪ Forgive me, I didn’t mean to offend you.

forgive me for doing something

▪ Forgive me for asking, but how old are you?

▪ Forgive me for saying this, but you really don’t look well at all.

▷ please accept my apologies /pliːz əkˌsept maɪ əˈpɒlədʒizǁ-əˈpɑː-/

used in formal letters :

▪ Please accept my apologies. I will be taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.

please accept my apologies for

▪ Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this error has caused.

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