1. kind indulgence, as in forgiveness of an offense or discourtesy or in tolerance of a distraction or inconvenience: I beg your pardon, but which way is Spruce Street?
  2. Law.
    1. a release from the penalty of an offense; a remission of penalty, as by a governor.
    2. the document by which such remission is declared.
  3. forgiveness of a serious offense or offender.
  4. Obsolete. a papal indulgence.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make courteous allowance for or to excuse: Pardon me, madam.
  2. to release (a person) from liability for an offense.
  3. to remit the penalty of (an offense): The governor will not pardon your crime.


  1. (used, with rising inflection, as an elliptical form of I beg your pardon, as when asking a speaker to repeat something not clearly heard or understood.)


  1. not excusable; disgraceful

verb (tr)

  1. to excuse or forgive (a person) for (an offence, mistake, etc)to pardon someone; to pardon a fault


  1. forgiveness; allowance
    1. release from punishment for an offence
    2. the warrant granting such release
  2. a Roman Catholic indulgence

sentence substitute

  1. Also: pardon me, I beg your pardon
    1. sorry; excuse me
    2. what did you say?

v.mid-15c., “to forgive for offense or sin,” from Old French pardoner (see pardon (n.)). ‘I grant you pardon,’ said Louis XV to Charolais, who, to divert himself, had just killed a man; ‘but I also pardon whoever will kill you.’ [Marquis de Sade, “Philosophy in the Bedroom”] Related: Pardoned; pardoning. Pardon my French as exclamation of apology for obscene language is from 1895. n.late 13c., “papal indulgence,” from Old French pardon, from pardoner “to grant; forgive” (11c., Modern French pardonner), “to grant, forgive,” from Vulgar Latin *perdonare “to give wholeheartedly, to remit,” from Latin per- “through, thoroughly” (see per) + donare “give, present” (see donation). Meaning “passing over an offense without punishment” is from c.1300, also in the strictly ecclesiastical sense; sense of “pardon for a civil or criminal offense; release from penalty or obligation” is from late 14c. earlier in Anglo-French. Weaker sense of “excuse for a minor fault” is attested from 1540s. see beg to differ; excuse me.

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