- b : excuse
- 2: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret <a public apology>
- 3: a poor substitute : makeshift
The Apology of Socrates is Plato's version of the speech given by Socrates as he defends himself against the charges of "corrupting the young, and by not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" . "Apology" here has its earlier meaning (now usually expressed by the word "apologia") of speaking in defense of a cause or of one's beliefs or actions (from the Greek απολογία).
Regret is a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often felt when someone feels sadness, shame, embarrassment, depression, annoyance or guilt after committing an action or actions that the person later wishes that he or she had not done. Regret is distinct from guilt, which is a deeply emotional form of regret — one which may be difficult to comprehend in an objective or conceptual way. In this regard, the concept of regret is subordinate to guilt in terms of its emotional intensity. By comparison, shame typically refers to the social (rather than personal) aspect of guilt or (in minor context) regret as imposed by the society or culture (enforcement of ethics, morality), which has substantial bearing in matters of (personal and social) honor.
It is also distinct from remorse, which is a more direct and emotional form of regret over a past action that is considered by society to be hurtful, shameful, or violent. Unlike regret, it includes a strong element of desire for apology to others rather than an internal reflection on one's actions, and may be expressed (sincerely or not) in order to reduce the punishment one receives.
Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something differently in a past situation.