disavow

verb
dis·​avow | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈvau̇ \
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 \ 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

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 The Bush campaign disavowed the ad at the time, but Bush’s chief strategist, Lee Atwater, exploited its message to paint Dukakis as soft on crime. Errin Haines Whack, The Seattle Times, "George H.W. Bush’s legacy on racial issues is complicated," 5 Dec. 2018 Former detainees say they were forced to disavow their Islamic beliefs in the camps, while children of detainees are being placed in dozens of orphanages across the region. Yanan Wang, The Seattle Times, "China says interning Muslims brings them into ‘modern’ world," 16 Oct. 2018 If Trump goes down, he’ll be disavowed, and then Republicans will come back and try the exact same thing over again. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Republicans are preparing to disavow Trump if he fails — then come back and try the same policies," 6 Sep. 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 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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