Definition of pardon in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpärdn/


1The action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offense: he obtained pardon for his sins
More example sentences
  • The Pope is asked more and more to be more specific in his asking for pardon, for forgiveness, vis-a-vis, the Jews.
  • The religion of love lives now, the Torah of forgiveness and pardon rules among the people… Now you'll see what glad tidings I will bring to you.
  • I can understand the Day of Atonement, because it is a day of forgiveness and pardon and on it the second Tablets of the Law were given.
forgiveness, absolution, clemency, mercy, leniency, remission
1.1A remission of the legal consequences of an offense or conviction: he offered a full pardon to five convicted men
More example sentences
  • There was public feeling that notwithstanding the granting of the pardons the conviction should be quashed.
  • He could grant full or partial pardons; he could make them conditional or unconditional.
  • To be sure, governors do sometimes exercise quasi-judicial functions - for example, in granting pardons to convicted offenders.
reprieve, free pardon, amnesty, exoneration, release, acquittal, discharge
formal exculpation
1.2 Christian Church , historical An indulgence, as widely sold in medieval Europe.
Example sentences
  • According to Geoff Egan, a medieval finds specialist at the Museum of London, the seals were most likely attached to papal indulgences, which could be corruptly bought from the Church as a pardon for a lifetime's sins.
  • An arrested Christian could receive a pardon simply by offering incense on a Roman altar, but many refused to do so, citing scripture passages urging faith in the one God.
  • In medieval times a practice of dealing in pardons developed.


[with object]
1Forgive or excuse (a person, error, or offense): I know Catherine will pardon me
More example sentences
  • Please pardon any errors in this chapter and future ones.
  • Kindly pardon our errors and shortcomings in reciting the above Gurbani.
  • Is it ever possible for another person to pardon sins when the guilt remains?
forgive, absolve, have mercy on;
excuse, condone, overlook
1.1Release (an offender) from the legal consequences of an offense or conviction, and often implicitly from blame: he was pardoned for his treason
More example sentences
  • When these men appear in leet records it is often to intervene in cases to persuade bailiffs to pardon offenders.
  • Pursuant to English common law, the King had flexible powers to pardon offenses either before or after indictment, conviction or sentencing.
  • Eventually the defendants were released and pardoned by the state governor.
exonerate, acquit, amnesty;
reprieve, release, free
informal let off
formal exculpate
1.2 (be pardoned) Used to indicate that the actions or thoughts of someone are justified or understandable given the circumstances: one can be pardoned the suspicion that some of his errors were deliberate
More example sentences
  • Before the great auk became extinct in the 1840s, you could have been pardoned for making the classic mistake and supposing there were penguins in the Arctic as well as the Antarctic, the cold north as well as the cold south.
  • One could be pardoned for thinking, your Honours, that in 1988 the New South Wales Parliament thought that they were getting rid of those.


A request to a speaker to repeat something because one did not hear or understand it: “Pardon?” I said, cupping a hand to my ear
More example sentences
  • Excuse me, sorry, excuse me, sorry, pardon!
  • Claudia Kramatschek gives a very instructive insight into Pakistani literature - pardon, into Urdu, Sindhi, Pashto, Punjabi and Balochi literature.
  • It's best known for its fresh seafood, but, yes, you can get French fries - pardon, pommes frites.



beg someone's pardon

Express polite apology: I beg your pardon for intruding
More example sentences
  • We don't know precisely what happened - pardon me - OK, my apology.
  • In need of emotional support, Aidan clung to Ellen's hand and carefully maneuvered through the sea of tables, saying, ‘Excuse me, pardon me,’ left and right.
  • ‘Oops, pardon me,’ she excused herself from a conversation with Michael and Mr. Fincher and stepped outside the door.

pardon me (or I beg your pardon)

Used to indicate that one has not heard or understood something.
Example sentences
  • Now, the three of them are Pakistani or four of them are Pakistani, or of Pakistani descent, pardon me?
2.1Used to express one’s anger or indignation at what someone has just said.


Middle English: from Old French pardun (noun), pardoner (verb), from medieval Latin perdonare 'concede, remit', from per- 'completely' + donare 'give'.

  • This comes from medieval Latin perdonare ‘concede, remit’ from per- ‘completely’ and donare ‘give’. Use of the word in I beg your pardon dates from the late 17th century; the shortened usage pardon meaning ‘excuse me’ is found from the late 19th century.

Words that rhyme with pardon

Baden, Baden-Baden, Coloradan, garden, harden, lardon, Nevadan

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: par·don

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