excuse-n; 3 Senses

Sense Number 1: an explanation or alibi for something

Commentary: EXCUSE[+action][+communication][+explanation][+justification][+sincere] [+relation][+role][+alibi]

John has no excuse for speaking to her that way!
The child brought a written excuse from his mother for having missed class.
Please make our excuses for us at the company party tonight.
Don't give him an excuse to fire you.
Mary told them she doesn't want excuses, just results.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 2

Sense Number 2: a poor or inadequate example

Commentary: EXCUSE[+relation][+role][+example][+inadequate]

This is a sorry excuse of a hotel.
He told the therapist that Mary had been a pathetic excuse of a wife.
I went ahead and served my excuse of a Black Forest cake to the guests.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 3

Sense Number 3: a pretext for doing something

Commentary: EXCUSE[+action][+behavior][-sincere] [+relation][+role][+pretext]

The child's tantrums were just an excuse to get attention.
They used working long hours as an excuse to carry on their extra-marital affair.
Lingering at the stage door was just an excuse to get a glimpse of the actor.

WordNet 0.0 Sense Numbers: 1b