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

Multiple studies have debunked the connection between violent video games and real-life violence, but the finger pointing has not ceased. Lily Jackson |, al, "Alabama video gamers say stop blaming their careers for murder," 7 Sep. 2019 The meme's veracity was quickly evaluated and debunked. Scientific American, "How Misinformation Spreads—and Why We Trust It," 3 Sep. 2019 But the hoax still continued to spread, and has bubbled up and subsequently been debunked nearly every year since. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "An Old Instagram Hoax Fools a Bunch of Celebrities," 21 Aug. 2019 The president then condemned violent video games, though studies have mostly debunked the link between real-life violence and video games. Lincoln Anthony Blades, Teen Vogue, "A Policy Meant to Help Black Students Could be Repealed After the Parkland Shooting," 5 Apr. 2018 But as this season goes, that starts to be debunked. Christian Holub,, "Brendan Gleeson on the Mr. Mercedes season 3 premiere and what's next for Bill Hodges," 11 Sep. 2019 Now Qualcomm wants to debunk at least part of that narrative by bringing 5G connectivity to its chips that power more affordable phones. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Qualcomm rolls out new chips that push 5G into more affordable phones," 6 Sep. 2019 Mangin is delighted to debunk some of the tales that have grown up around Aspin Hill. John Kelly, Washington Post, "More than 50,000 animals are buried in this cemetery," 5 Sep. 2019 More than twenty years ago, a group of Italian men set out to debunk that idea. Ceridwen Dovey, The New Yorker, "Can You Write a Novel as a Group?," 30 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries near debunk

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Statistics for debunk

Last Updated

4 Oct 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

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