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 New York City officials last week debunked a claim passed around in text messages that the city’s Metro-North trains, connecting commuters from the suburbs to the city, would be shut down and that other train service would be limited. Zeke Miller And,, "US officials: Foreign disinformation is stoking virus fears," 16 Mar. 2020 Alt News debunked a BJP Maharashtra spokesperson’s tweet, which linked to an article alleging that China was seeking a court’s approval to kill more than 20,000 COVID-19 patients to contain the virus. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "India Is the World's Second-Most Populous Country. Can It Handle the Coronavirus Outbreak?," 12 Mar. 2020 Health officials debunked the claim, but Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus myths, debunked: A cattle vaccine, bioweapons and a $3,000 test," 7 Mar. 2020 Wen also debunked the idea that wearing a mask in public will help prevent a person from getting the virus. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Former Baltimore health commissioner on coronavirus: "Don't buy masks"," 6 Mar. 2020 But his biggest concern is debunking the state’s creation myth, so this month, Rodriguez will be fighting that good fight. Elaine Ayala,, "Ayala: Tejano independence has been a story about the ‘commission of omission’," 3 Mar. 2020 Levasseur debunked, or confirmed, aa few familiar space equipment myths. Nadine Daher, Smithsonian Magazine, "Smithsonian Curators Help Rescue the Truth From These Popular Myths," 21 Feb. 2020 Burrow’s mother, Robin, debunked that theory this week, supporting The Enquirer’s report that the rumors don’t have any validity. Tyler Dragon,, "Cincinnati Bengals have leverage, too. Here's what the team can do in the NFL Draft.," 18 Feb. 2020 Secretary of State Paul Pate debunked the claim Monday on Twitter, where the erroneous assertion had been liked and retweeted by thousands of social media users. Author: David Klepper And Amanda Seitz, Anchorage Daily News, "Online misinformation fuels doubt as 2020 vote kicks off," 4 Feb. 2020

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

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Debunk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 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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