de·​bunk (ˌ)dē-ˈbəŋk How to pronounce debunk (audio)
debunked; debunking; debunks

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

To debunk something is to take the bunk out of it—that bunk being “nonsense.” (Bunk is short for the synonymous bunkum, which has political origins.) Debunk has been in use since at least the 1920s, and it contrasts with synonyms like disprove and rebut by suggesting that something is not merely untrue but is also a sham—a trick meant to deceive. One can simply disprove a myth, but if it is debunked, the implication is that the myth 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 Associated Press on Thursday debunked the claim as false. Kacen Bayless, Kansas City Star, 15 Feb. 2024 Videos released in the days after Nichols' death and statements from Memphis police officials have debunked much of that narrative. Adrian Sainz,, 15 Feb. 2024 Conspiracy theories that Swift is part of a psychological operation carried out by the Department of Defense (a theory the Pentagon has debunked) have also spread in recent weeks. Ana Faguy, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 The contention by Trump, Navarro and others that widespread election fraud gave Joe Biden the election has been debunked by every legitimate review of the voting. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Jan. 2024 Ravens 26, Texans 24 McDonald: Remember when C.J. Stroud was getting criticized before the 2023 NFL Draft for reasons that aren’t worth repeating now that they’ve been fully debunked? Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 19 Jan. 2024 Fact-checking groups debunked the rumors, while the Central Election Commission held a news conference to push back on claims of electoral discrepancies. David Klepper and Huizhong Wu, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Feb. 2024 Now that the teams have been determined, the theory has soundly been debunked, as two red teams head to Vegas. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 29 Jan. 2024 The lawsuit was filed in the wake of the 2020 election, when Fox repeatedly gave airtime to far-right figures who promoted outrageous and debunked claims that Smartmatic rigged the presidential election by flipping millions of votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Wire Service, The Mercury News, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'debunk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1923, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of debunk was in 1923


Dictionary Entries Near debunk

Cite this Entry

“Debunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​bunk (ˈ)dē-ˈbəŋk How to pronounce debunk (audio)
: to expose the falseness in
debunk popular myths
debunker noun

More from Merriam-Webster on debunk

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