Pardon Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

If you’re wondering what the word pardon means — you’re in the right place. Read on as we explore the meaning of pardon, it’s etymology, and more.

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The term pardon can be defined as the action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offense — but did you know that it has another definition? Read on as we explore the word pardon to uncover its many meanings and more. 

What Does Pardon Mean?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term pardon means to forgive someone for something they have said or done. To further our understanding of the term, let’s review a few additional definitions:

  • defines pardon as “kind indulgence,” as in forgiveness of an offense or discourtesy or intolerance of a distraction or inconvenience. 
  • The Legal Information Institute provided by Cornell Law School says a pardon is the use of executive power that exempts the individual to whom it was given from punishment.
  • According to the Collins Dictionary, the meaning behind pardon is to excuse or forgive (a person) for an offense or mistake.  

After reviewing the definitions provided above, we can conclude that the term pardon is defined as a verb meaning someone shouldn’t be blamed for doing, thinking, or saying something. It can also mean to officially say that someone who is guilty of a crime will be allowed to go free and will not be punished. 

In other words, pardon means “to forgive.” That’s kind of sweet!

What Is the Origin of Pardon? 

The word pardon was first recorded around the year 1300 to 1350 in Middle English as the noun pardoune, meaning “papal indulgence or wrongdoing,” from the Old French pardon. This comes from the Modern French pardonner, meaning “to forgive,” directly from the Medieval Latin perdonum

It wasnt until the middle of the 15th century that the word really took on its form as verb, dervied from the Old French pardoner and Medieval Latin’s perdonare.

That being said, the first use of “to beg (one’s) pardon’,’ meaning “ask for forgiveness,” wasn’t until around the 1640s. 

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Pardon?

Since pardon has a somewhat varying definition and can be used in different contexts, let’s discuss its synonyms and antonyms. 

First, what is a synonym? A synonym is simply a word or phrase that can be used in place of the original word. These synonyms are outstanding ways to expand your English language vocabulary as well as wow your peers with your ever-expanding word pool.

Since the word pardon can be used as a noun or a verb, this gives us an even larger array of synonyms and antonyms. Below you will find a list of synonyms of pardon:

  • Forgiveness
  • Absolution
  • Suspend Charges
  • Remission
  • Clemency
  • Be a Justification For
  • Indulgence
  • Mercy
  • Gloze Over
  • Cancellation
  • Let Off Easy
  • Acquittal
  • Amnesty
  • Close Your Eyes To
  • Remission
  • Oblivion
  • Full pardon
  • Exculpation
  • Wipe Slate Clean
  • Discharge
  • Reprieve
  • Forbearance
  • Brush Aside
  • Lenience
  • Remittal
  • Acquit
  • Off the Hook
  • Interjection
  • Let Off
  • Exempt
  • Exculpate
  • Bury the Hatchet
  • Vindication
  • Exoneration
  • Condonation

As you may have guessed, there are just as many antonyms (words with the opposite meaning of the word pardon). Below we have included a list of antonyms for pardon:

  • Penalty
  • Punishment
  • Retribution
  • Recompense
  • Redress
  • Restitution
  • Atonement
  • Penalty of an offense
  • Judgment
  • Due Reward
  • Enslavement
  • An Eye For an Eye
  • Measure For Measure
  • Chastisement
  • Conviction
  • Hold
  • Damning
  • Forfeiture
  • Offender
  • Death sentence
  • Amercement
  • Jankers
  • Death penalty
  • Mortification
  • Censure
  • Reparation
  • Comeuppance
  • Punitive Measures
  • Delay
  • Malevolence
  • Mercilessness
  • Selfishness
  • Unkindness
  • Fault
  • Guilt
  • Imprisonment
  • Thraldom
  • Sins
  • Penal Servitude
  • Immuremement
  • Captivity
  • Detainment
  • Incarceration

Using the Word “Pardon” in Example Sentences

To help you better understand this word’s meaning and use pardon correctly, we have provided example sentences below. Use these sentences as a guide on how to include pardon in your everyday communication, verbally or in writing. 

  • He was later acquitted of all charges and in 2010 received a presidential pardon for all of all past convictions.
  • I believe it was Shakespear who once said, “I pardon him as God shall pardon me.”
  • Really I have the easiest time pardoning everyone else’s mistakes; it is my own that I can not.
  • In his line of work, I am sure he has had to pardon more than his fair share of individuals. 
  • Please, with all due respect, and pardon the expression, but there really is truth behind it all.
  • You know, at first, I was head over heels for them, but as time went on, they really started to drive me bananas, if you’ll pardon the expression.
  • Did you know that the Supreme Court has the power to pardon and offer clemency?
  • The minor offense was officially pardoned. 

Related Words and Idioms

Using these new words in everyday sentences can really help to better memorize their definition. Speaking of which: Why don’t you try using this word of the day in a sentence today to better memorize its meaning?

Below you will find a shortlist of idioms containing the word pardon:

  • Beg One’s Pardon
  • Pardon My French
  • Royal Pardon
  • If You’ll Pardon the Expression
  • Presidential Pardon
  • I Beg Your Pardon
  • Well, Pardon Me For Existing!
  • Pardon Me
  • Pardon Me For Breathing!


At the end of the day, the word pardon can be used as a noun or a verb, although in its simplest of definitions, it will always mean to forgive.

So if you could pardon us while we take our leave— we hope that this article has helped you better grasp all meanings, uses, and forms of the word pardon.


  1. PARDON | definition in the | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. pardon | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
  3. Pardon definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary