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 Polish diplomats are doing little to disabuse them. The Economist, "Charlemagne Minority Report: Brussels edition," 5 Mar. 2020 Chekhov has a way of disabusing us of our specialness, of making us realize that our problems are, in fact, just like everyone else’s. Megan O’grady, New York Times, "Why Tales of Female Trios Are Newly Relevant," 19 Feb. 2020 Terry Egger, the former publisher of The Plain Dealer, disabused me of my antipathy toward weather stories. Chris Quinn, Editor, cleveland, "No one brings you more mind-boggling weather trends like Rich Exner: Letter from the Editor," 21 Dec. 2019 In a rematch of last year's AFC championship game, the Kansas City Chiefs snapped the Patriots' 21-game home winning streak, playoffs included, and disabused anyone of the notion that the Patriots are presently a championship-caliber outfit. Adam Kilgore, courant.com, "Questions keep stacking up against Patriots, and answers aren’t easy to find," 9 Dec. 2019 The subsequent firing of Emery, a few days after AFTV turned en masse against him, will do little to disabuse them of that view. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Fans, by Fans, Against the Club," 29 Nov. 2019 The goal of the book is to disabuse people of this intuition. Washington Post, "You’ve been reading charts wrong. Here’s how a pro does it.," 11 Oct. 2019 Given the details of the situation, however, there’s a case to be made for disabusing your blinkered boss. New York Times, "What Can I Do When a Colleague Takes Credit for My Work?," 30 July 2019 Trump administration officials have tried to disabuse Mr. Trump of this theory. CBS News, "Fiona Hill said in impeachment inquiry that politicizing Ukraine policy was her "worst nightmare"," 8 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for disabuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of disabuse was in 1669

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Last Updated

13 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disabuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disabuse. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for disabuse


How to pronounce disabuse (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disabuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disabuse

Spanish Central: Translation of disabuse

Nglish: Translation of disabuse for Spanish Speakers

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