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

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,, "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 Boxall is keen to debunk the myth of the Bermuda Triangle as a mysterious place where strange things happen. James Rogers, Fox News, "Bermuda Triangle is no 'mystery,' ocean scientist explains," 8 Aug. 2018 In another instance, CNN host Chris Cuomo debunked a conspiracy theory pushed by Jordan in two minutes. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "James Comey unloads on House Republicans and Fox News," 17 Dec. 2018 Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton parroted Harris on Wednesday, days after her claims were debunked. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "Kamala Harris' edited Kavanaugh video, 'made-for-TV' questions draw scrutiny," 13 Sep. 2018 The brunt of Facebook's news vetting in Mexico falls to a small group of third-party fact-checkers, whose job is to play whack-a-mole — debunking one story at a time, with each taking several days to disprove., "Facebook's battle against fake news reaches Mexico ahead of July 1 election," 23 June 2018 The stereotype debunked by Ms. Currid-Halkett has self-fulfilling prophesy potential, as fewer smart, hip people want to identify with the yahoo side of America’s divide. WSJ, "‘Divided America’ Myth Strokes Elite Egos," 1 Jan. 2019 There were reports suggesting that Newcastle had agreed an 'option to buy' as a part of the loan agreement, but this has been debunked by Downie., "Sky Sports Reporter Deals Blow to Newcastle Fans With Latest Claim on Kenedy Move," 10 July 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

debt to society







Statistics for debunk

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

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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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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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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