disavow

verb
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 \ -​ə-​bəl How to pronounce disavowable (audio) \ adjective
disavowal \ -​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

Since then, however, seemingly every Five Star and League leader has disavowed their antagonism to the euro, or rather denied ever harboring any hostility to it whatsoever. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "Italy’s Populist Parties Win Approval to Form Government," 31 May 2018 But as the week unfolded, the administration stuck to a number of different strategies in an attempt to disavow the work of its own experts. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Trump administration organizes pushback against its own climate report," 3 Dec. 2018 The California Republican Party disavowed Little and kicked him out of its convention in San Diego earlier this month. Seema Mehta, latimes.com, "New poll finds a volatile race for second place in California governor's contest," 22 May 2018 Zinke’s move has been disavowed by 17 former Department of the Interior officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations, 500 organizations from all 50 states, and dozens of members of Congress in both the House and the Senate. Sarah Greenberger, Vox, "I worked in the Interior Department. Watching Zinke’s tenure was heartbreaking.," 21 Dec. 2018 DeSantis was also forced to disavow white nationalists who made racist robocalls attacking Gillum. Caroline Houck, Vox, "Andrew Gillum concedes Florida gubernatorial race," 17 Nov. 2018 At the same time, London, like Berger, disavowed insurrectionary rhetoric. David Greenberg, WSJ, "Socialists Are No Strangers to Congress," 3 Jan. 2019 Facebook disavowed any anti-Semitic intent for its agency’s work. Nick Statt, The Verge, "No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm," 15 Nov. 2018 In March, Women’s March issued a statement disavowing Farrakhan’s rhetoric, but critics have called on the leaders of the group to denounce and cut ties with Farrakhan himself. Anna North, Vox, "The Women’s March changed the American left. Now anti-Semitism allegations threaten the group’s future.," 21 Dec. 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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Statistics for disavow

Last Updated

14 Mar 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

disavow

verb

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)

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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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