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 \ 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 The Spanish and Italian clubs still clinging to the Super League must disavow the breakaway or face being banned from the Champions League, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin told The Associated Press on Friday. Rob Harris, Star Tribune, "Ceferin warns 4 clubs to reject Super League to avoid CL ban," 23 Apr. 2021 Nike didn’t bother to disavow the shoes then, to the disappointment of at least one designer on MSCHF’s team who spoke to the New York Times last year. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Nike went after Satan, but not Jesus," 30 Mar. 2021 In response to reports that the FedEx shooter was involved in the fandom, many within the community are taking steps to actively disavow the far-right extremist contingent of the subculture. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, "Do Bronies Have a ‘Nazi Problem’? FedEx Shooting Shines Light on Faction of Subculture," 19 Apr. 2021 Rains, who represents the Oakland Police Officers Association, accused the city of trying to disavow the decision of its retained hearing officer. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Oakland police officers who killed homeless man in 2018 should get their jobs back, internal review finds," 10 Mar. 2021 In June 2019, when the Legislature passed a measure that allows homeowners to file a document to disavow a racial covenant, Cisneros did so without hesitation. Kim Hyatt, Star Tribune, "Golden Valley city staff project turns into growing effort to denounce racial covenants," 13 Mar. 2021 Trump’s campaign has had to disavow Nazi symbology in the past. Washington Post, "As CPAC dismisses claims that its stage resembled a Nazi insignia, Hyatt calls hate symbols ‘abhorrent’," 1 Mar. 2021 Indeed, after Osterholm made his comments, a number of Biden’s task force members went out to publicly disavow lockdown possibilities. Alexandra Jaffe, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden faces tough choice of whether to back virus lockdowns," 14 Nov. 2020 Indeed, after Osterholm made his comments, a number of Biden's task force members went out to publicly disavow lockdown possibilities. Arkansas Online, "Biden faces tough choice of whether to back virus lockdowns," 14 Nov. 2020

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

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Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disavow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disavow. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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)

More from Merriam-Webster on disavow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disavow

Britannica English: Translation of disavow for Arabic Speakers

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