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

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 around the turn of the 20th century. (It derived, via bunkum, from a remark made by a congressman from Buncombe County, North Carolina.) Within a couple of decades, 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 "to prove something false," in addition to "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 notion that a team would eschew a QB upgrade just to punish the Browns makes no sense, and the events of last weekend debunk it. cleveland, 8 May 2022 American Indians themselves can debunk the notion that commercial tobacco is somehow an integral part of Indigenous culture. Patricia Nez Henderson And Catherine Saucedo, CNN, 12 Mar. 2022 The brand aims to help Black women debunk the superwoman archetype that many of us take on, sometimes to our own detriment. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 4 Jan. 2022 The fires and troop movements debunk the Tatmadaw’s assertions that rebel fighters started the blazes. Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2021 But economists across the board debunk them as politically popular, feel-good gimmicks that sidestep meaningful and lasting tax reform and provide negligible relief or savings. Jeffrey Schweers,, 7 Apr. 2022 In the early 20th century Franz Boas famously worked to debunk the racial hierarchy myth and promoted equal civil rights for Native Americans. Rachel Parsons, Scientific American, 28 Mar. 2022 Here, designers debunk this and four other truisms of designing a small room to disguise its size. Lauren Joseph, WSJ, 12 Feb. 2022 In recent weeks, the BLM Global Network has had to debunk misinformation from conservative activists who claimed the group’s donations were being redirected to the Democratic Party. Aaron Morrison, USA TODAY, 19 June 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of debunk

1923, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Debunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on debunk

Nglish: Translation of debunk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debunk for Arabic Speakers


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