Pronunciation: (pär'dn), [key]
1. kind indulgence, as in forgiveness of an offense or discourtesy or in tolerance of a distraction or inconvenience: I beg your pardon, but which way is Spruce Street?
2. Law.
a. a release from the penalty of an offense; a remission of penalty, as by a governor.
b. the document by which such remission is declared.
3. forgiveness of a serious offense or offender.
4. Obs.a papal indulgence.

1. to make courteous allowance for or to excuse: Pardon me, madam.
2. to release (a person) from liability for an offense.
3. to remit the penalty of (an offense): The governor will not pardon your crime.

(used, with rising inflection, as an elliptical form of I beg your pardon, as when asking a speaker to repeat something not clearly heard or understood.)

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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