dis·​avow | \ˌdis-ə-ˈvau̇ \

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 \ adjective
disavowal \-​ˈvau̇(-​ə)l \ 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

The issue is being spearheaded by Rep. John Sarbanes (MD), a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform who has long disavowed corporate PAC money. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "House Democrats unveil their first bill in the majority: a sweeping anti-corruption proposal," 30 Nov. 2018 Just 6 percent of all Seattle land now zoned exclusively for single-family homes would be upzoned, and no council members have disavowed the plan. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Closed-door negotiations but no deal in battle over Seattle plan to upzone neighborhoods," 21 Aug. 2018 Nehlen, who’s been identified as a white nationalist, has been suspended from Twitter and disavowed by the Wisconsin Republican Party for anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric. Carrie Dann, NBC News, "Paul Ryan's congressional district has been a battleground," 11 Apr. 2018 State party officials have no records of him ever serving as a delegate and have disavowed any knowledge of him. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Neo-Nazi Senate candidate Patrick Little kicked out of Republican convention," 5 May 2018 Though his songs charted with regularity, celebrities such as comedian Eric Andre began disavowing the rapper, and asking others to follow suit. chicagotribune.com, "Rapper XXXTentacion fatally shot in Florida at age 20," 19 June 2018 Trump did not disavow Nugent’s use of the same word against Clinton, or criticize his followers’ use of the word during his campaign. latimes.com, "Calendar Letters: Samantha Bee, Roseanne Barr and competing views of hypocrisy," 9 June 2018 What was not mentioned in Cornell’s letter disavowing Mr. Meier’s gift was any decision on whether to return his past donations to the school, including a scholarship for graduate architecture students. Sopan Deb, New York Times, "When #MeToo Infamy Taints Your Famous Benefactor," 2 Apr. 2018 Cox said, calling on Villaraigosa to disavow the flood of harsh ads and mailers. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "How California political ads fool voters, while candidates keep hands clean," 30 May 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

5 Dec 2018

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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

: 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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a nest or breeding place

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