Posted by: Jack Henry | August 15, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Recuse vs. Excuse

I believe it was one of my relatives that asked me to go through the meanings of excuse and recuse, so I’m finally getting to it. The word recuse has been in the news quite a bit lately regarding some government events. This is a time for happiness, joy, and learning, though, so we won’t be making any trips to D.C. for examples.

Here is a brief article from The Grammarist, followed by some examples from me.

Recuse means to disqualify someone from a legal duty because that person is prejudiced or has a conflict of interest. Someone may be recused through his [KC – or her] own decision or someone else’s decision. Judges often recognize when they have a conflict of interest and recuse themselves. Recuse is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are recuses, recused, recusing, recusal. The word recuse is derived from the Latin word recusare, which means to decline, reject, or make an objection to.

Excuse means to release someone from a requirement, to release someone from a duty. Excuse also means to forgive someone for a transgression or minimize the blame. Excuse is a transitive verb, related words are excuses, excused, excusing. Excuse is also used as a noun. The term is derived from the Latin word excusare which means to decline, refuse, or release from blame.


§ Frodo recused himself from the trial because worked for Pillsbury, and he refused to believe the Doughboy could be guilty of bad taste.

§ The judge recused herself from the trial because she recognized the defendant as one of her former bowling buddies.

§ Nieves excused Fernando for being an hour late for their date because when he arrived, Fernando handed her a new puppy, named Chico.

§ “Anybody who is attending the meet tomorrow,” said the coach, “is excused from swim class this afternoon.”

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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