9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-pol-uh-jet-ik] /əˌpɒl əˈdʒɛt ɪk/
containing an apology or excuse for a fault, failure, insult, injury, etc.:
An apologetic letter to his creditors explained the delay.
defending by speech or writing.
willing or eager to apologize.
sorry; regretful.
Also, apologetical.
Origin of apologetic
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English apologetik a formal defense (< Middle French) < Late Latin apologēticus written defense, defensive < Greek apologētikós fit for defense, equivalent to apologē- (variant stem of apologeîsthai to speak in defense; see apologia) + -tikos -tic
Related forms
apologetically, adverb
nonapologetic, adjective
nonapologetical, adjective
nonapologetically, adverb
pseudoapologetic, adjective
pseudoapologetically, adverb
quasi-apologetic, adjective
quasi-apologetically, adverb
unapologetic, adjective
unapologetically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for apologetic
  • Then she gave me an apologetic smile and patted my arm.
  • The following morning there was an apologetic response from him waiting in my mail queue.
  • Finally, with a shake of his head and an apologetic smile, he reached around her waist and yanked at her clothes himself.
  • It is probably some sort of apologetic and politically correct solemn nonsense which will leave us all none the wiser.
  • He politely shook his head, offering an apologetic smile.
  • It took a minute for anyone to speak up, and even then, the queries were polite to the point of apologetic.
  • It is not uncommon even for those who make the discoveries to be apologetic about it.
  • Even those who study temperament can be defensive or vaguely apologetic about their findings.
  • He is almost apologetic about his boats and jet plane, although he clearly enjoys both.
  • While in prison, he wrote apologetic letters to his daughters.
British Dictionary definitions for apologetic


expressing or anxious to make apology; contrite
protecting or defending in speech or writing
Derived Forms
apologetically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apologetic

1640s, "vindicatory," from French apologétique, from Latin apologeticus, from Greek apologetikos "defensible," from apologeisthai (see apology). Meaning "regretfully acknowledging failure" is from 1855. As a noun, "formal defense," from early 15c. Related: Apologetics (c.1753).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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