dis·​avow | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈvau̇ How to pronounce disavow (audio) \
disavowed; disavowing; disavows

Definition of disavow

transitive verb

1 : to deny responsibility for : repudiate disavowed the actions of his subordinates
2 : to refuse to acknowledge or accept : disclaim party leaders disavowed him … have publicly disavowed any claim on the Graceland estate.— Dan Chu

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Other Words from disavow

disavowable \ ˌdis-​ə-​ˈvau̇-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce disavowable (audio) \ adjective
disavowal \ ˌdis-​ə-​ˈvau̇(-​ə)l How to pronounce disavowal (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

If you trace the etymology of disavow back through Middle English to Anglo-French, you'll arrive eventually at the prefix des- and the verb avouer, meaning "to avow." The prefix des- in turn derives from the Latin prefix dis-, meaning "apart." That Latin prefix plays a significant role in many current English words, including "disadvantage," "disappoint," and "disagree." "Avouer" is from Latin advocare, meaning "to summon," and is also the source of our word advocate.

Examples of disavow in a Sentence

He disavowed the actions of his subordinates. She now seems to be trying to disavow her earlier statements.

Recent Examples on the Web

In meetings with juvenile justice advocates in June and July, officials with the Division of Youth Services discussed, but did not disavow, the practice of the side-hold, according to the ACLU of Colorado. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Colorado youth correctional facilities’ method of restraining juveniles developed without oversight, report finds," 21 Aug. 2019 Then, when Oracle filed a copyright suit to recover for the state’s infringement, Oregon disavowed its immunity waiver. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Wall Street Journal Publisher Tells Supreme Court of Being Victimized by California," 14 Aug. 2019 But the man who discovered him is not ready to disavow him. Aliya S. King, Billboard, "Wayne Williams on Signing R. Kelly and Why He's Playing 'Wait and See' on Latest Charges: Exclusive Q&A," 2 Aug. 2019 The United States signed the treaty with Japan in 1951 after forcing a new constitution on the country that disavows a full military of its own beyond self-defense forces. Peter Baker, BostonGlobe.com, "Heading to G20, Trump once again assails America’s friends," 27 June 2019 A few hours later, after similar messages from other members of the Republican congressional leadership, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, the minority leader, Trump publicly disavowed the chant. Los Angeles Times, "Trump, playing with fire on racial issues, already getting burned," 19 July 2019 Political and business leaders disavowed the race-baiting that emerged farther south and endeavored to maintain a system of paternalistic control in order to ensure the perpetuation of racial supremacy. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Atlantic, "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood," 18 July 2019 Other members of the Strawberry Milk Gang have disavowed Kretzmann’s actions and haven’t collaborated with them since. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "TikTok users are turning a top creator’s apology video into new TikTok creations," 18 June 2019 These days, the man who coined the catchphrase disavows it. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What stops a bullet? Milwaukee can learn from L.A. program that has turned to trauma care," 18 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disavow

Middle English desavowen, from Anglo-French desavouer, from des- dis- + avouer to avow

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for disavow

The first known use of disavow was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for disavow



English Language Learners Definition of disavow

formal : to say that you are not responsible for (something) : to deny that you know about or are involved in (something)

More from Merriam-Webster on disavow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disavow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disavow

Britannica English: Translation of disavow for Arabic Speakers

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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