I thought excuse me was only suppose to used to excuse yourself or after you sneeze. Also, is excuse me a phrase or a idiom?

  • It's both a phrase and an idiom.
    – James K
    Jan 25, 2021 at 23:46
  • 1
    If someone says "excuse me" in response to something offensive, it is most likely in sarcasm.
    – Tyler M
    Jan 26, 2021 at 1:14

3 Answers 3


It is a semi-polite way of saying: "What you just said is offensive."

When someone speaks to us, and we do not hear what was said, it is polite to say something like, "Excuse me, but would you please repeat that." It implies that the listener was at fault for not paying close enough attention rather than that the speaker was at fault for not speaking clearly or audibly enough.

When saying "Excuse me" in response to something offensive, it is a way to suggest that the listener did not hear the offensive remark and cannot imagine that the speaker would have said what was just said.


It also could be used to get attentions. For example, if others say something offensive to you, you can response "excuse me !" to get attention from them, so they can realize it.

  • No, no one says "call attentions".
    – Eddie Kal
    Jan 26, 2021 at 0:33

Yes, Saying "Excuse Me, Coming Thru..." Or you've accidentally just bumped into someone and to be polite, say "Oh Excuse me or Pardon me..." Then theres the questionable statement of, "Excuse me? What did you just say?"

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