Etymology
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apology (n.)

early 15c., "defense, justification," from Late Latin apologia, from Greek apologia "a speech in defense," from apologeisthai "to speak in one's defense," from apologos "an account, story," from apo "away from, off" (see apo-) + logos "speech" (see Logos).

In classical Greek, "a well-reasoned reply; a 'thought-out response' to the accusations made," as that of Socrates. The original English sense of "self-justification" yielded a meaning "frank expression of regret for wrong done," attested by 1590s, but this was not the main sense until 18c. In Johnson's dictionary it is defined as "Defence; excuse," and adds, "Apology generally signifies rather excuse than vindication, and tends rather to extenuate the fault, than prove innocence," which might indicate the path of the sense shift. The old sense has since tended to go with the Latin form apologia (1784), a word known from early Christian writings in defense of the faith.

Origin and meaning of apology

updated on September 23, 2022

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Definitions of apology from WordNet

apology (n.)
an expression of regret at having caused trouble for someone;
he wrote a letter of apology to the hostess
apology (n.)
a formal written defense of something you believe in strongly;
Synonyms: apologia
apology (n.)
a poor example;
it was an apology for a meal
Synonyms: excuse
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.