de·​bunk | \(ˌ)dē-ˈbəŋk \

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

Elsewhere Snopes repeatedly debunked a fake news empire, causing them to lose the bulk of their Facebook distribution and basically drive them out of business. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Senate warns tech companies on foreign interference: “Time is running out”," 2 Aug. 2018 Northeastern University researchers Dave Choffnes and Christo Wilson (mostly) debunk the internet’s favorite conspiracy theory on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Behind the scenes at Amazon’s Prime Day disaster," 20 July 2018 On the issue of medical costs, for example, a Rand Corp. study released earlier this year debunked the idea that transgender troops represented a huge burden because of gender transition therapy. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Border crisis is Trump's latest war on straw men," 6 Apr. 2018 Until last month, fewer than a dozen fact-checkers were tasked with debunking Mexican disinformation for the country's 84 million Facebook users, along with tens of millions who use WhatsApp., "Facebook's battle against fake news reaches Mexico ahead of July 1 election," 23 June 2018 During the Mexican earthquake, Verificado relied on 500 volunteers to help track down rumors and either confirm or debunk them. Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, "Rapidly expanding fact-checking movement faces growing pains," 25 June 2018 German Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly debunked those claims. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: NATOhhh no...," 12 July 2018 Studies have also debunked the argument that abortions raise the risk of depression or breast cancer. NBC News, "Abortion in the U.S.: Five key facts," 5 July 2018 Slate quickly debunked by pointing out that the only people with those numbers are elite athletes. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "An Ode to Paul Ryan’s Commitment to Fitness," 11 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of debunk

1923, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near debunk

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Statistics for debunk

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for debunk

The first known use of debunk was in 1923

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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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by force of circumstances

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