The word alibi, which in Latin means ‘elsewhere’, has been used since the 18th century to mean ‘an assertion by a person that he or she was elsewhere’. In the 20th century a new sense arose (originally in the US) with the meaning ‘an excuse’. This use is a fairly common and natural extension of the core meaning, but is still regarded as incorrect by some traditionalists.
noun (plural alibis)
- a claim or piece of evidence that one was elsewhere when an act, typically a criminal one, is alleged to have taken place:she has an alibi for the whole of yesterday evening
- informal an excuse or pretext:a catch-all alibi for failure and inadequacy
verb (alibis, alibiing, alibied)
late 17th century (as an adverb in the sense ‘elsewhere’): from Latin, ‘elsewhere’. The noun use dates from the late 18th century
from the Oxford and Merriam Webster online dictionaries.
I’ve been trying to fit in for years. Yes. Yes. We’ve all been in the wrong place at the wrong time. For some it’s that deliciously blurred moment somewhere after midnight and before work or school the next day. On the other hand, some of us seem to spend most of our days there. And others appear to have been simply born there. Of course we can dissimulate. We can pretend we suddenly fit in though it’s as awkward as a suit with no arms and ten pockets when there’s a bill to be paid. But now I seem to conflating being in the wrong place with a sort of being-out-of-place faux pas. And even then, when we’re busy pretending that we’re not as out of place as a mathematical equation scrawled on a urinal wall, that’s when we need the alibi most. To fit in. Who am I. Where have I come from. As if I was ever going to tell you any of that stuff. Yes. Yes. I’ll come up with something to be sure,
better than the truth, or at least more believable.