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

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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 Only three out of 3,000 tracked down the source of the video, despite a quick internet search turning up a number of articles debunking it. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook disinformation in the 2020 presidential election: What you can do to stop its spread," 12 Dec. 2019 That claim has never been substantiated, but Omar has refused to provide evidence fully debunking it. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Ilhan Omar files for divorce, says public ‘speculation and innuendo’ has taken a toll," 7 Oct. 2019 The actual online conspiracy theory was used by the show to build Ferreira’s mischievous character, and Tomlinson has debunked it before. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Louis Tomlinson Was 'Pissed Off' Over That 'Euphoria' Animated Sex Scene With Harry Styles," 25 Sep. 2019 The Patriots can also attempt to debunk a progressive discipline argument by emphasizing that the team has discretion when to cut a player. Michael Mccann,, "How Antonio Brown’s Likely Labor Grievance Against the Patriots Will Play Out," 22 Sep. 2019 Law enforcement debunks these rumors while simultaneously telling people that anyone, anywhere can be a trafficker. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, "Human Trafficking Prevention Month Is a Dangerous Joke," 15 Jan. 2020 Kent also debunked the notion that Joe Biden might have helped Burisma when he was involved in pushing for the firing of Ukraine’s prosecutor general as vice president. John Mccormack, National Review, "Elise Stefanik Stood Out on Day One of the Impeachment Hearings," 14 Nov. 2019 In an interview with NBC’s Joelle Garguilo, the OB-GYN — known for debunking health myths perpetuated by the media or celebrities — spoke to Know Your Value about the misinformation plaguing women’s health. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "Dr. Gunter: How to be your own best health advocate," 24 Sep. 2019 Mostly the authors seek to debunk common myths and grant parents the freedom to pursue their own literary path as the best possible example to their children. Wendy Fawthrop, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Two pros aim to make reading fun for kids in ‘How to Raise a Reader’," 30 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of debunk

1923, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for debunk

Time Traveler

The first known use of debunk was in 1923

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Debunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for debunk


How to pronounce debunk (audio)

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.)

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More from Merriam-Webster on debunk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for debunk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with debunk

Spanish Central: Translation of debunk

Nglish: Translation of debunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debunk for Arabic Speakers

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