I have just been reminded that there is another word to be avaoided.....BUT !
If you are apologising eg "I am sorry about being late with the report but I have been busy" Try instead just to state the facts...."I am sorry my report was late; I had to track down some additonal research which you will find at the end of the report." Or if you do not have an excuse then be truthful "I am sorry the report was late; I had underestimated the time involved. It was been a learning for the future". You will see the difference in people's reaction.....it can diffuse the situation.