“Apology” appeared in the English language in 1533. It means “a formal justification or expression of regret“.
The word is used as is from the Greek “απολογία” which is a compound word made up of the preposition “από“, read “apo”, and the word “λόγος“, read “logos“.
Like all prepositions, “από” takes a different meaning depending on context. In this case, it defines origin; where something originates from. “Λόγος”, as we’ve already seen, is a versatile word as well. In this case, it means “reason”.
In this sense, “απολογία” is the attempt made by someone to explain the reasons that drove him or her to do something. It has come to mean “acceptance of error” because the situations where someone is asked to justify him or herself are mostly when it’s proven that a previous action has been hurtful or in some way wrong.