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 The most important thing for new investors is to disabuse themselves of these false pillars of security. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Coinbase and crypto slump, but a resurgent economy pushes blue-chip stocks higher," 16 Apr. 2021 Paul’s memoir will disabuse you of any notions about the glamour of being an artist’s muse. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "10 great books that got lost in the noise of 2020," 10 Dec. 2020 After her posts appeared, knowledgeable folks took to their keyboards to disabuse Halper of her presumption. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Has Amy Coney Barrett culturally appropriated a New York accent? Or is it pure Metairie?," 14 Oct. 2020 Tommy did his best to disabuse the man of these notions. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "Why would someone plan to abduct the governor of Michigan?," 10 Oct. 2020 Trump has not managed to disabuse the public of suspicions that his financial interests sway his outlook on the national interest. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "Can the Constitution Reach Trump’s Corruption?," 9 June 2020 But a visit to Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody on Monday disabused me of the notion that it’s mostly white men going maskless. Bill Torpy, ajc, "OPINION: Can’t hide from a mask divide that’s now fully exposed," 27 May 2020 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

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

20 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disabuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disabuse. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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