is properly a legal term meaning ‘a plea that when an alleged act took place one was elsewhere’. The earliest use of alibi (18c) corresponded to that of the Latin adverb meaning ‘elsewhere’: those under suspicion had to prove that they were alibi (elsewhere). From this use it rapidly hardened into a noun: an alibi was ‘an instance of being alibi’

• (Since you think I murdered him, I had better produce my alibi —S. Brett, 1979).

In the 20c it has developed a colloquial weakened meaning ‘an excuse; a plea of innocence’

• (I have an alibi because I'm going to have a baby —L. P. Hartley, 1951

• So far delivery has not lived up to expectations raised by the bold, soaring rhetoric, and the alibis are running out —Independent, 2002).

This colloquial use is first recorded in American sports writing and then in detective fiction (naturally, or surprisingly, enough). The corresponding sense of ‘a person providing an alibi’ has followed suit

• (Tom and Maureen are my alibis —C. Hare, 1949)

and there is even a verb, although its inflection is too awkward for widespread use

• (She's alibi-ed by Mrs. Fitch —J. Cannan, 1958

• There's got to be someone to alibi us —L. Duncan, 1978).

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • alibi — alibi …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • alibi — [ alibi ] n. m. • 1394; mot lat. « ailleurs » 1 ♦ Dr. Moyen de défense tiré du fait qu on se trouvait, au moment de l infraction, dans un lieu autre que celui où elle a été commise. Avoir un alibi. Vérifier des alibis. Un alibi sérieux, solide. « …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • alibi — ALIBÍ, alibiuri, s.n. 1. Dovadă de nevinovăţie rezultată din constatarea că, la data săvârşirii infracţiunii, cel învinuit se afla în altă parte decât la locul săvârşirii ei. 2. Mijloc de apărare care aduce în sprijin un alibi (1). 3. fig.… …   Dicționar Român

  • alibi — al·i·bi n [Latin, elsewhere, from alius other]: a defense of having been somewhere other than at the scene of a crime at the time the crime was committed; also: the fact or state of having been elsewhere at the time a crime was committed ◇… …   Law dictionary

  • Alibi — Sn (Nachweis über den) Aufenthalt an einem anderen Ort erw. fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. In Anlehnung an frz. alibi m. entlehnt aus l. alibī anderswo , Adverbialbildung zu l. alius ein anderer .    Ebenso nndl. alibi, ne. alibi, nfrz. alibi, nschw …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • alibi — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. n ndm {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} dowód na to, że osoba podejrzana o popełnienie przestępstwa nie przebywała na jego miejscu w czasie, gdy to przestępstwo zostało popełnione : {{/stl… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • alibi — ALIBI. s. m. Terme de Jurisprudence. On s en sert pour dire qu Une personne étoit absente d un lieu, par la raison qu elle étoit alors dans un autre, Il n a point d S au pluriel. La fausseté de cette pièce a été prouvée par un alibi. Prouver l… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • alibi — ALIBI. s. m. Il n a point d s au pluriel. Presence d une personne dans un lieu esloigné de celuy où l on pretend qu elle estoit dans le mesme temps. La fausseté de cette piece, de cette accusation a esté prouvée par un alibi. l accusé demande à… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Alibi — Al i*bi, n. [L., elsewhere, at another place. See {Alias}.] (Law) The plea or mode of defense under which a person on trial for a crime proves or attempts to prove that he was in another place when the alleged act was committed; as, to set up an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alibi — / alibi/ s.m. [dal lat. alĭbi, avv., altrove ]. 1. (giur.) [prova con cui un indiziato dimostra di essersi trovato altrove quando fu commesso un reato]. 2. (estens.) [motivazione che giustifica o discolpa] ▶◀ attenuante, giustificazione, pretesto …   Enciclopedia Italiana

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