debunk

verb
de·​bunk | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈbəŋk How to pronounce debunk (audio) \
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

Talking about pegging specifically can help normalize it and debunk outdated thinking about cishet men and prostate pleasure. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "A Guide to Pegging Your Partner With a Strap On," 8 May 2019 The lie spread rapidly across social media—far faster than factual attempts to debunk it. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: It only takes a few seconds for bots to spread misinformation," 21 Nov. 2018 And he’s kept using arguments even after reporters, fact-checkers and lawmakers have debunked them. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Time, "Read the 191 Arguments President Trump Has Made Against the Mueller Investigation," 7 June 2018 Seventeen spoke to Rogers, who is also a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian, to learn exactly how BED is diagnosed and debunk the myths surrounding the disorder. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Here's How to Tell If You Have Binge Eating Disorder," 8 Feb. 2019 An international agency devoted to monitoring against nuclear testing has debunked the rumor, but that hasn't stopped the U.S. Air Force from checking it out, just in case. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Report Says European Mystery Radiation Isn't Real. That Isn't Stopping an Air Force Investigation.," 22 Feb. 2017 Too often, disabled people are used as able-bodied inspiration, but in a new interview with Vanity Fair, Blair—who is known for her iconic roles in movies like Cruel Intentions and Legally Blonde—debunks that idea. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Selma Blair Wants to Create an Accessible Fashion Line for Disabled People After MS Diagnosis," 27 Feb. 2019 The 37-year-old star took to Twitter to debunk the Yeezy Mafia report that the Yeezy Season 7 collection would not include clothes because of West’s lack of inspiration. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, "Kim Kardashian Defends Kanye West's Yeezy Season 7, Confirms Full Collection Will Be 'Online Soon'," 6 Mar. 2018 Kim debunked the rumors after engaging in a war of words with the show's creator, Mike Fleiss. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Just Debuted Cherry Red Hair & It Looks Stunning," 24 Feb. 2019

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

31 May 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 move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!