Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Offering or expressing an apology or excuse: an apologetic note; an apologetic smile.
  • adj. Self-deprecating; humble: an apologetic manner.
  • adj. Serving as or containing a formal justification or defense: an apologetic treatise on church doctrine.
  • n. A formal defense or apology.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having the character of apology; regretfully excusing
  • adj. Defending by words or arguments; said or written in defense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Defending by words or arguments; said or written in defense, or by way of apology; regretfully excusing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of, pertaining to, or containing a defense; defending by words or arguments; said or written in defense: as, an apologetic essay.
  • Making apology or excuse; manifesting regret for or excusing some fault, failure, deficiency, imperfection, etc., in one's own conduct or that of another: as, an apologetic reply; an apologetic manner.
  • n. An apology; a defense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. offering or expressing apology

Etymologies

Middle English, formal defense, from Latin apologēticus, from Greek apologētikos, suitable for defense, from apologeisthai, to defend oneself verbally, from apologos, apology, story; see apologue.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French apologétique, from Ancient Greek ἀπολογητικός (apologētikos, "of or suitable for defense"), from ἀπολογέσθαι (apologesthai, "to speak in defense of"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He got up, his expression apologetic, and fumbled for change in his pocket, throwing down much more than our two coffees cost.

    Dreaming in French

  • There's no reason for Pyongyang to be taking what I call apologetic position they're taking, agreeing to go back to the six-party talks, agreeing that there will be no more tests.

    CNN Transcript Oct 22, 2006

  • They will learn apologetic methods on how to articulate and defend Christianity when talking to Muslims, but they will understand that the greatest apologetic is love and forgiveness.

    Equipping for Ministry to Muslims

  • As they went by, one of their leaders shouted out to me in apologetic explanation.

    The Scarlet Plague

  • "I'm sick ... my stomach," he explained in apologetic tones to the passenger who sat next to him.

    Created He Them

  • “He’s fairly serious,” he said, his expression apologetic.

    INVITATION ONLY

  • “I emailed a Code Green to my colleagues,” he said, his expression apologetic, his voice coated with regret.

    C7: Chapter Six – Lost on Earth « Write Anything

  • The evangelist accepts this view in order to make it the basis for the transition to the apologetic, which is the sole aim of the whole of his prologue.

    The Beginnings of Christianity. Vol. II.

  • It was the perception of this which made Paul an apostle to the Gentiles, and it is this very thing itself, which some would degrade into an awkward, unintelligent, and outworn rag of Pharisaic apologetic, which is the very heart and soul of Paul's Gentile gospel.

    The Atonement and the Modern Mind

  • ELIOT SPITZER: Look, I'll say only this, because I have tried not to say anything that seems either self-justifying or anything other than purely apologetic, which is what I can and must be.

    Democracy Now!

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