Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Expression composed with " 对 ", meaning to face and " 不起 ", meaning unable, thus literally meaning "Cannot face you". "对不起" is contracted from the very formal expression " 抱歉, 我对不起你 ", meaning "Sorry, I am unable to face you" (because of shame).
- sorry; excuse me
- 对不起！真的对不起！对于我来说，我的态度非常明确，我绝不袒护我的孩子！我这件事，换位思考、将心比心，我也非常理解受害者的心情，一样……一样……（失声痛哭） I am sorry. I am really sorry. Personally my attitude (towards this incident) is very clear: I will never give unprincipled protection to my child. On this matter, (by placing myself in the situation of the victim's family) I empathise with the victim's family fully. (It's) all the same.. all the same.. (burst into tears)
- To cause someone embarrassment; to screw someone over; to do something to a person that would demand an apology later on.
- 对于今天的表现，周苏红直言，现在的心情和06年一样难受，比赛中中国队遇到困难办法不多，输球对不起观众。 Regarding today's performance, Zhou Suhong confessed that her feeling now was as bad as (the same time in) 2006. The Chinese team did not have much strategy to deal with problems in the game, and losing the game makes the team feel embarrassed to face the audience.
- 1997, Jerome P. Keuper, Chinese 1000: Idiomatic and Colloquial Expressions (中国话：习惯用法和口语的表达法) (in English/Mandarin), Florida: Krieger Publishing Company, ISBN 1-57524-006-8:
- to cause someone embarrassment; to screw someone over; to do something to a person that would demand an apology later on
- tùi-put-khí is rarely used as an interjection meaning I'm sorry in Min Nan. Use 歹势 (phái-sè) or 失礼 (sit-lé) instead.
- 对不住 ([[tùi-pu̍t-chū|tùi-pu̍t-chū]])