Definition of pardon in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɑːd(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1The action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offence: 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, remission, clemency, mercy, lenience, leniency, condonation
historical indulgence
1.1 [count noun] A cancellation of the legal consequences of an offence 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, general pardon, amnesty, exoneration, exculpation, release, acquittal, discharge
rare oblivion
1.2 [count noun] Christian Church 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 offence): 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, be merciful to, deal leniently with;
excuse, condone, overlook
rare remit
1.1Release (an offender) from the legal consequences of an offence 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, exculpate;
let off, grant a pardon to, reprieve, release, free, spare
1.2 (be pardoned) Used to indicate that someone is justified in doing or thinking a particular thing 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.



I beg your pardon (or North American pardon me)

Used to 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.
1.1Used to indicate that one has not heard or understood something: I beg your pardon—I’m afraid I didn’t catch that
More example sentences
  • Now, the three of them are Pakistani or four of them are Pakistani, or of Pakistani descent, pardon me?
1.2Used to express one’s anger or indignation at what someone has just said: ‘I beg your pardon!,’ Beecham snapped

if you'll pardon the expression

Used to apologize for having used or being about to use coarse or offensive expressions: four of those years I spend in a bloody prison camp—if you’ll pardon the expression
More example sentences
  • Event number 4 was another text message saying that Jenny's guy had, if you'll pardon the expression, sealed the deal.
  • I was chomping on metaphorical toes, if you'll pardon the expression.
  • As the author explains, it is quite difficult to invest in sex through the public securities markets; most porn companies are privately held, if you'll pardon the expression.

pardon me for ——

Used to express in a sarcastic way one’s indignation at being criticized for doing something: ‘Well, pardon me for breathing!’
More example sentences
  • So you'll pardon me for not buying the administration's story at this point.
  • Well, pardon me for not packing a huge can of Raid, but the only other way to get rid of an insect problem is to step on 'em!
  • So you'll pardon me for not taking West's feigned outrage seriously.


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

Line breaks: par¦don

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