Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb re·nounce \ri-ˈnau̇n(t)s\

Simple Definition of renounce

  • : to say especially in a formal or official way that you will no longer have or accept (something) : to formally give up (something)

  • : to say in a formal or definite way that you refuse to follow, obey, or support (someone or something) any longer

Full Definition of renounce


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to give up, refuse, or resign usually by formal declaration <renounce his errors>

  3. 2 :  to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further :  repudiate <renounce the authority of the church>

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to make a renunciation

  6. 2 :  to fail to follow suit in a card game

re·nounce·ment play \-ˈnau̇n(t)s-mənt\ noun
re·nounc·er noun

Examples of renounce

  1. Many of his former supporters have renounced him.

  2. He renounced his old way of life.

Origin of renounce

Middle English, from Anglo-French renuncer, from Latin renuntiare, from re- + nuntiare to report, from nuntius messenger

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of renounce

abdicate, renounce, resign mean to give up a position with no possibility of resuming it. abdicate implies a giving up of sovereign power or sometimes an evading of responsibility such as that of a parent <abdicated the throne>. renounce may replace it but often implies additionally a sacrifice for a greater end <renounced her inheritance by marrying a commoner>. resign applies to the giving up of an unexpired office or trust <resigned from the board>.

abjure, renounce, forswear, recant, retract mean to withdraw one's word or professed belief. abjure implies a firm rejecting or abandoning often made under oath <abjured the errors of his former faith>. renounce may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown <renounced abstract art and turned to portrait painting>. forswear may add an implication of perjury or betrayal <I cannot forswear my principles>. recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught <if they recant they will be spared>. retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation <the newspaper had to retract the story>.

RENOUNCE Defined for Kids


verb re·nounce \ri-ˈnau̇ns\

Definition of renounce


  1. 1 :  to give up, abandon, or resign usually by a public declaration <The queen renounced the throne.>

  2. 2 :  to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any longer <They renounced the goals of the organization.>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up renounce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.