dis·​abuse | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈbyüz How to pronounce disabuse (audio) \
disabused; disabusing; disabuses

Definition of disabuse

transitive verb

: to free from error, misconception, or fallacy (see fallacy sense 1a) was quickly disabused of the idea that anything had changed

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Did You Know?

We know the verb "abuse" as a word meaning "to misuse," "to mistreat," or "to revile." But when "disabuse" first appeared in the early 17th century, there was a sense of "abuse," now obsolete, that meant "to deceive." Sir Francis Bacon used that sense, for example, when he wrote in 1605, "You are much abused if you think your virtue can withstand the King's power." The prefix dis- has the sense of undoing the effect of a verb, so it's not surprising that disabuse means "to undeceive." English speakers didn't come up with the idea of joining "dis-" to "abuse" all on their own, however. It was the French who first appended their prefix "dés-" to their verb "abuser." English "disabuse" is modeled after French "désabuser."

Examples of disabuse in a Sentence

let me disabuse you of your foolish notions about married life

Recent Examples on the Web

If Sheeran is a model for how to embrace success without losing your soul, Jack’s agent, an industry viper named Debra (an amusing Kate McKinnon), is on hand to disabuse him of the notion that the soul even exists. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Yesterday’ imagines a world without the Beatles — and doesn’t make you want to visit," 27 June 2019 If Sheeran is a model for how to embrace success without losing your soul, Jack’s agent, an industry viper named Debra (an amusing Kate McKinnon), is on hand to disabuse him of the notion that the soul even exists. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: 'Yesterday' imagines a world without the Beatles — and doesn't make you want to visit," 26 June 2019 Progress across these areas would also disabuse the Chinese of the idea that the U.S. is in decline and lacks the will and ability to stand up to a dynamic new power. Richard N. Haass, WSJ, "The Crisis in U.S.-China Relations," 19 Oct. 2018 Bocanegra isn't trying to disabuse herself of false illusions so much as take in the cultural contradictions. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the farmhouse next door, and unexpected connections in between," 16 Apr. 2018 These leaders have now been clearly disabused of that logic. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Foreign critics of Trump’s travel ban face a new foe: The Supreme Court," 27 June 2018 Diana Gordon is here to disabuse him of both notions. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "‘A cataclysmic wake-up call’: Can more candor win back support for animal research?," 26 June 2018 Her performance quickly disabuses you of such notions. Mary H.k. Choi, The Cut, "Jessica Williams Is Ready to Claim What’s Hers," 4 June 2018 If the president had hoped that his choice of Mr Cottarella would reassure capital markets, he was swiftly disabused. The Economist, "Italy’s bond yields rise as it heads for another election," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disabuse.' 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 disabuse

1669, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for disabuse

French désabuser, from dés- dis- + abuser to abuse

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Statistics for disabuse

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for disabuse

The first known use of disabuse was in 1669

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More Definitions for disabuse



English Language Learners Definition of disabuse

formal : to show or convince (someone) that a belief is incorrect

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More from Merriam-Webster on disabuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disabuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disabuse

Spanish Central: Translation of disabuse

Nglish: Translation of disabuse for Spanish Speakers

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