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 Smith anchored an afternoon newscast that often debunked some of the statements made by opinion hosts like Sean Hannity at night., "Smith has worked at Fox News Channel since the network started in 1996.," 12 Oct. 2019 In the days following Florida’s win that season, Auburn coach Doug Barfield debunked the reports that War Eagle IV was called for the penalty. Tom Green |, al, "Ill-eagle participation: The time Auburn’s live mascot ‘attacked’ a Florida wide receiver," 3 Oct. 2019 Scientists have debunked the idea that boys are simply born wanting to play with trucks and girls wanting to nurture dolls. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "'A Doll For Everyone': Meet Mattel's Gender-Neutral Doll," 25 Sep. 2019 It’s not been proved or debunked, but the threat is compelling enough that protesters have toppled 20 such lampposts since their rollout in July. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "Why Hong Kongers Are Toppling Lampposts," 30 Aug. 2019 But the white boot trend, which has remained a force for several seasons, has since debunked that myth. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "It’s Time to Shut Down Fashion’s Oldest Myth Once and For All," 22 Aug. 2019 While the opinion pages have stood up for the city, the news pages have tried to lay out all the facts that debunk Trump. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Baltimore Sun takes on Trump's attacks with searing columns, news and fact-checks," 3 Aug. 2019 Many aspects of that myth, especially concerning Ibsen’s early life, were debunked by previous biographers. Andrew Katzenstein, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Conservative," 16 Sep. 2019 September 2019: Popular Mechanics' special report debunking 9/11 myths first appeared in our March 2005 issue, and was subsequently made into a book. John Mccain, Popular Mechanics, "John McCain: The 9/11 Conspiracy Myths and the Truth Under Attack," 10 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for debunk

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for debunk

The first known use of debunk was in 1923

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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

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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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