• WordNet 3.6
    • v pardon grant a pardon to "Ford pardoned Nixon","The Thanksgiving turkey was pardoned by the President"
    • v pardon accept an excuse for "Please excuse my dirty hands"
    • n pardon the act of excusing a mistake or offense
    • n pardon the formal act of liberating someone
    • n pardon a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Chauffeur. Pardon, monsieur Chauffeur. Pardon, monsieur
The King Begs Pardon The King Begs Pardon

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Pardon (Law) A release, by a sovereign, or officer having jurisdiction, from the penalties of an offense, being distinguished from amnesty, which is a general obliteration and canceling of a particular line of past offenses.
    • Pardon An official warrant of remission of penalty. "Sign me a present pardon for my brother."
    • Pardon The act of pardoning; forgiveness, as of an offender, or of an offense; release from penalty; remission of punishment; absolution. "Pardon , my lord, for me and for my tidings.""But infinite in pardon was my judge."
    • Pardon The state of being forgiven.
    • Pardon To absolve from the consequences of a fault or the punishment of crime; to free from penalty; -- applied to the offender. "In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant.""I pray you, pardon me; pray heartily, pardon me."
    • Pardon To give leave (of departure) to. "Even now about it! I will pardon you."
    • Pardon To refrain from exacting as a penalty. "I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it."
    • Pardon To remit the penalty of; to suffer to pass without punishment; to forgive; -- applied to offenses. "I pray thee, pardon my sin.""Apollo, pardon My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle!"
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • pardon To remit the penalty or punishment due on account of (an offense); pass by or leave without penalty, resentment, or blame; forgive; overlook.
    • pardon To absolve (an offender) from liability for an offense or crime committed; release (a person) from the punishment or penalty due on account of some fault or offense.
    • pardon To excuse; indulge; especially, to excuse from doing something.
    • pardon Synonyms Pardon, Forgive. These words are often synonymous. Strictly, pardon expresses the act of an official or a superior, remitting all or the remainder of the punishment that belongs to an offense: as, the queen or the governor pardons a convict before the expiration of his sentence. Forgive refers especially to the feelings; it means that one not only resolves to overlook the offense and reestablishes amicable relations with the offender, but gives up all ill feeling against him. See pardon, n.
    • n pardon Forgiveness of an offender or of his offense or crime; a passing over without punishment; remission of penalty.
    • n pardon In law, a free remission of the legal consequences of guilt or of some part of them; an act of grace proceeding from the power charged with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law prescribes for a crime he has committed. Marshall. Mere mitigation of punishment is not pardon. Pardon is sometimes used in the more general sense which includes amnesty. In Great Britain the pardoning of offenses against the crown or the people rests with the crown, except in certain specified cases. Pardon is granted under the great seal or by warrant under the sign manual, countersigned by one of the principal secretaries of state, or by act of Parliament. Offenders against the laws of the United States may be pardoned by the President, except in cases of impeachment. In nearly all the States, persons convicted of crimes under the State laws, except in cases of treason and impeachment, may be pardoned by the governor, the governor and council, or the governor and board of pardons.
    • n pardon The deed or warrant by which such remission is declared. Delivery is essential to its validity, and delivery is not complete without acceptance; but in some cases constructive acceptance has been held sufiicient, as where it was delivered to the jailer, the prisoner being ignorant of it.
    • n pardon A papal indulgence, or remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, usually for a stated time.
    • n pardon Allowance; excuse.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Pardon pär′don to forgive, said either of an offender or of a crime: to pass by without punishment or blame: to set free from punishment: to let off without doing something
    • n Pardon forgiveness, either of an offender or of his offence: remission of a penalty or punishment: a warrant declaring a pardon: a papal indulgence
    • ***


  • Doug Horton
    “We are all serving a life sentence, and good behavior is our only hope for a pardon.”
  • Auson
    “You should pardon many things in others, nothing in yourself.”
  • St. Francis of Assisi
    “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
  • Francois De La Rochefoucauld
    “We pardon to the extent that we love.”
  • St. Francis of Assisi
    “Where there is injury let me sow pardon.”
  • Samuel Johnson
    “What provokes your risibility, Sir? Have I said anything that you understand? Then I ask pardon of the rest of the company.”


If you'll pardon my French - (UK) This idiom is used as a way of apologising for swearing.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Either fr. pardon, n., or from F. pardonner, LL. perdonare,; L. per, through, thoroughly, perfectly + donare, to give, to present. See Par-, and Donation


In literature:

But Honorius was more merciful than Gualo, and within a year even Simon received his pardon.
"The History of England" by T.F. Tout
However, I begged his pardon, and we parted good friends.
"Elster's Folly" by Mrs. Henry Wood
I ask your pardon beforehand.
"Sunrise" by William Black
Annie was very grateful to me, and kissed me many times, and begged my pardon ever so often for her rudeness to me.
"Lorna Doone" by R. D. Blackmore
I have a royal pardon!
"The Three Brides, Love in a Cottage, and Other Tales" by Francis A. Durivage
Nay, pardon me, madam; thou lovest not to list that theme, believing him as honorable and faithful as thyself.
"The Days of Bruce Vol 1" by Grace Aguilar
The pardoned youth was put to death.
"Historical Tales, Vol. 4 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
Nevertheless I pardon you, and may God pardon you!
"One Hundred Merrie And Delightsome Stories" by Various
Her last words were, 'Jesus, I pardon you.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete" by John Symonds
But I beg your pardon, you said that all those letters are in that little room?
"The Vicomte de Bragelonne" by Alexandre Dumas

In poetry:

It is that thou that mercy found,
Which thou to others never gave;
That thy rebellious, restless soul,
A pardon found, beyond the grave.
"Louis Riel" by Thomas Frederick Young
When Ionne came befower the king,
He fell downe on his knee;
"O pardon, my soveraine leige; he said,
"O pardon my eight score men and mee!-
"Johnny Armstrong" by Anonymous British
See, O my soul, thy Saviour come!
Thy Guardian, thy Protector see!
See there thy pardon! see thy home!
See there the joys prepar'd for thee!
"A Comfortable Conference Between A Pious Sick Man And His Soul, Against The Fear Of Death" by Rees Prichard
Not once of heaven, or pardon given,
By that sacred cross he wore:
For the deep, deep groans of that kneeling wretch,
He heard for evermore !
"The Penitent's Confession" by Anne Bannerman
"Didst thou not say my father's heart
Had deigned at length thy vows to hear?
Too late remorse! but oh, to him
My pardon, and my blessing bear.
"Julia, or the Convent of St. Claire" by Amelia Opie
Blest is the man, for ever blest,
Whose guilt is pardoned by his God;
Whose sins with sorrow are confessed,
And covered with his Savior's blood.
"Psalm 32 part 1" by Isaac Watts

In news:

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, right, carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov 21, 2012.
A clemency hearing for 37-year-old George Ochoa is scheduled Friday before the Pardon and Parole Board in Oklahoma City.
The state Board of Pardons is scheduled to hear 56-year-old Hubert Michael's request Wednesday afternoon.
ATLANTA — The Georgia pardons board made the rare decision Friday to spare the life of a condemned man who was set to die this week for the 1991 murder of his ex-classmate.
Georgia Pardons Board Denies Clemency for Death Row Inmate.
In an annual ritual, two Virginia-raised turkeys were "pardoned" by President Obama and will spend Thanksgiving at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate instead of on a dinner table.
President Obama performed the annual pardoning of a turkey for Thanksgiving at the White House with his two daughters, Sasha and Malia by his side.
WASHINGTON (AP) -President Barack Obama pardoned two turkeys in an annual Thanksgiving rite on Wednesday, saying he wanted to offer the birds a second chance.
President Barack Obama gestures during the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon with his daughters Sasha and Malia at the White House.
President Obama performed the annual pardoning of a turkey for Thanksgiving at the White House with his two daughers, Sasha and Malia by his side.
The day before Thanksgiving, President Obama performed the annual turkey pardon at the White House.
The Presidential pardoning of a turkey.
On Wednesday, one of Miller's toms is to briefly achieve national celebrity at the annual White House turkey pardoning ceremony.
Cobbler and Gobbler are the two birds in the running for a pardon.
The Nebraska Board of Pardons has set two dates in December to hear requests for commutation of life sentences from 27 inmates convicted as juveniles.

In science:

One day before their scheduled execution, prisoner A learns that two of them have been pardoned. A calculates a probability of 2/3 for him being pardoned.
The temporal calculus of conditional objects and conditional events
Then he asks the Guard: “Name me one of my fellows who will be pardoned.
The temporal calculus of conditional objects and conditional events
The Guard tells him, that B will be pardoned.
The temporal calculus of conditional objects and conditional events
Based on that information, A recalculates the probability of being pardoned as 1/2, since now only one pardon remains for him and C (the third prisoner) to share! However, he could apply the same argument if the Guard had named C .
The temporal calculus of conditional objects and conditional events
The intuitive explanation is that after learning the Guard’s testimony G(B ) that B will be pardoned, A should revise the probability of the event P (A) (of him being pardoned) by computing P ( uP (A)|G(B )), and the probability evaluation yields in this case 2/3, as expected.
The temporal calculus of conditional objects and conditional events