verb \ri-ˈfyüz\

: to say that you will not accept (something, such as a gift or offer)

: to say or show that you are not willing to do something that someone wants you to do

: to not allow someone to have (something)


Full Definition of REFUSE

transitive verb
:  to express oneself as unwilling to accept <refuse a gift> <refuse a promotion>
a :  to show or express unwillingness to do or comply with <refused to answer the question>
b :  deny <they were refused admittance to the game>
obsolete :  give up, renounce <deny thy father and refuse thy name — Shakespeare>
of a horse :  to decline to jump or leap over
intransitive verb
:  to withhold acceptance, compliance, or permission
re·fus·er noun

Examples of REFUSE

  1. When they offered me the money, I couldn't refuse.
  2. They asked her to help but she refused.

Origin of REFUSE

Middle English, from Anglo-French refuser, from Vulgar Latin *refusare, perhaps blend of Latin refutare to refute and recusare to demur — more at recuse
First Known Use: 14th century


noun \ˈre-ˌfyüs, -ˌfyüz\

: something (such as paper or food waste) that has been thrown away : trash or garbage

Full Definition of REFUSE

:  the worthless or useless part of something :  leavings
:  trash, garbage

Examples of REFUSE

  1. <refuse had littered the playground until our volunteer group cleaned it up>

Origin of REFUSE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from refuser
First Known Use: 14th century


adjective \ˈre-ˌfyüs, -ˌfyüz\

Definition of REFUSE

:  thrown aside or left as worthless

First Known Use of REFUSE

15th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: refusenik
Previous Word in the Dictionary: refusal
All Words Near: refuse

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