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or apologetical

[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.
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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "The lady without it, at present," I said, with an apologetic smile for my rather grim jest.

    The Gold Bag Carolyn Wells
  • He was apologetic, and even cringing, until they turned on Lilia.

  • Candace could do nothing but look as apologetic as she felt.

    A Little Country Girl Susan Coolidge
  • The Chevalier shot me an apologetic glance across the board.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • “Halt a moment,” said the invalid, in a weak voice and with an apologetic smile.

    Blue Lights R.M. Ballantyne
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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