debunk

verb
de·​bunk | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈbəŋk \
debunked; debunking; debunks

Definition of debunk

transitive verb

: to expose the sham (see sham entry 1 sense 2) or falseness of debunk a legend

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from debunk

debunker noun

Did You Know?

If you guessed that "debunk" has something to do with bunk, meaning "nonsense," you're correct. We started using "bunk" at the beginning of the 20th century. (It derives from a remark made by a Buncombe county, N.C., congressman.) A little less than 25 years later, "debunk" was first used in print for the act of taking the "bunk" out of something. There are plenty of synonyms for "debunk," including "disprove," "rebut," "refute," and the somewhat rarer "confute." Even "falsify" can mean "prove something false," in addition to "make something false." "Debunk" itself often suggests that something is not merely untrue, but also a sham; one can simply disprove a myth, but if it is "debunked," the implication is that it was a grossly exaggerated or foolish claim.

Examples of debunk in a Sentence

The article debunks the notion that life exists on Mars. The results of the study debunk his theory.

Recent Examples on the Web

When Kylie debunked rumors in a gloriously monotonous tone. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "9 Things the Kardashian-Jenners Did on Their Apps That Will Stand the Test of Time," 20 Dec. 2018 In a 2015 paper, MIT professor of political science Adam Berinsky found that rather than debunking rumors or conspiracy theories, presenting people with facts or corrections sometimes entrenched those ideas further. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why Facebook banned Alex Jones — and Twitter didn’t," 11 Aug. 2018 Initial reports focused on a problem between the duchesses, which multiple royal insiders have since debunked. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Prince Harry Is Reportedly 'Going All Out' to Protect Meghan Markle for This Heartbreaking Reason," 11 Dec. 2018 Some people are good at the debunking in real time. Recode Staff, Recode, "Why the Craig behind Craigslist gave big bucks to a journalism program," 15 July 2018 The president has also promoted a conspiracy theory that Google was suppressing his State of the Union address by not featuring it on its homepage, which the search giant debunked in fairly short order. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Rudy Giuliani accuses Twitter of bias for hyperlinking text," 5 Dec. 2018 In a new format for YouTube, a team of correspondents will ask their online audience to weigh in on what makes them curious or confused; the team will then seek to find the answers or debunk the misconceptions. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Taylor Swift caused a massive spike in voter registration with an Instagram post," 10 Oct. 2018 Snopes, the country’s most popular hoax-debunking site, is run by its founder out of a 97-year-old house in Tacoma. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Lies, lies and more lies. Out of an old Tacoma house, fact-checking site Snopes uncovers them," 10 Oct. 2018 September 2018: Popular Mechanics' special report debunking 9/11 myths first appeared in our March 2005 issue, and was subsequently made into a book. John Mccain, Popular Mechanics, "John McCain: The 9/11 Conspiracy Myths and the Truth Under Attack," 11 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debunk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of debunk

1923, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about debunk

Listen to Our Podcast about debunk

Dictionary Entries near debunk

debt to society

debubblizer

debug

debunk

deburr

deburse

debus

Statistics for debunk

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for debunk

The first known use of debunk was in 1923

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for debunk

debunk

verb

English Language Learners Definition of debunk

: to show that something (such as a belief or theory) is not true : to show the falseness of (a story, idea, statement, etc.)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on debunk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with debunk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for debunk

Spanish Central: Translation of debunk

Nglish: Translation of debunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debunk for Arabic Speakers

Comments on debunk

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!