APOLOGY (from Gr., defence), in its usual sense, an expression of regret for something which has been wrongfully said or done; a withdrawal or retraction of some charge or imputation which is false. In an action for libel, the fact that an apology has been promptly and fully made is a plea in mitigation of damages. The apology should have the same form of publicity as the original charge. If made publicly, the proper form is an advertisement in a newspaper; if made within the hearing of a few only, a letter of apology, which may be read to those who have heard what was said, should be sufficient. By the English Libel Act 1843, s. 2, it was enacted that in an action for libel contained in a newspaper it is a defence for the defendant to plead that the libel was inserted without actual malice and without gross negligence, and that before the commencement of the action and at the earliest opportunity afterwards he inserted in the newspaper a full apology for the libel, or, where the newspaper in which the libel appeared was published at intervals exceeding one week, he offered to publish the apology in any newspaper selected by the plaintiff. The apology must be full and must be printed in as conspicuous a place and manner as the libel was.
The word "apology" or "apologia" is also used in the sense of defence or vindication, the only meaning of the Greek , especially of the defence of a doctrine or system, or of religious or other beliefs, etc., e.g. Justin Martyr's Apology or J.H. Newman's Apologia pro vita sua. (See Apologetics.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)