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

Other Words from disavow

disavowable \ ˌdis-​ə-​ˈvau̇-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce disavow (audio) \ adjective
disavowal \ ˌdis-​ə-​ˈvau̇(-​ə)l How to pronounce disavow (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 Palfrey and Liss-Riordan agreed to disavow spending by independent expenditure committees, but Campbell has not signed on. Stephanie Ebbert, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Aug. 2022 The suits caused Newsmax to disavow its own coverage on air and later led to one of its anchors fleeing the studio when a guest started making false claims about fraud. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2022 Lesser and Gouveia sent a letter to state party leadership last month calling on it to denounce the PAC and for Driscoll to disavow its support, citing the donors’ support of national Republicans. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Aug. 2022 Another culprit is the refusal by the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats to disavow tax increases or costly regulations. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 28 July 2022 But the grinding war in Ukraine is increasing pressure on China to disavow Putin’s aggression or face international condemnation that could upend its own strategies in challenging the U.S. for global superiority. Stephanie Yang, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2022 Mainstream opposition organizations generally disavow such activities, while supporting armed resistance in rural areas that are more often subject to brutal military attacks. David Rising And Eileen Ng, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 July 2022 Mainstream opposition organizations generally disavow such activities, while supporting armed resistance in rural areas that are more often subject to brutal military attacks. David Rising, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2022 Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh both suggested that the court could disavow Lemon v. Kurtzman, an Establishment clause precedent that is no longer used by the Supreme Court but still remains on the books. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 21 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About disavow

Time Traveler for disavow

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About disavow

Dictionary Entries Near disavow




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for disavow

Last Updated

14 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disavow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disavow. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on disavow

Britannica English: Translation of disavow for Arabic Speakers

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!