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 Senators from both sides of the aisle -- and the nominees themselves -- have all tended to directly disavow any relevance of individual faith to qualification to be a justice. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, 16 Mar. 2022 Asking artists to disavow Mr. Putin’s war in order to carry on creatively can imperil their safety. Suzanne Nossel, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2022 McCarthy's decision to publicly disavow Trump could also be an indication that Trump's influence is waning. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, 10 Mar. 2022 Many men, in an earnest attempt to disavow themselves of male macho-ness, had become overly feminized and had abandoned their wildness — a vital component of masculinity, Bly said. Martin Miller, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 The threat of war has started a discussion in Ukraine and in the West about the idea that Kyiv may disavow NATO membership. New York Times, 19 Feb. 2022 Campbell, the District 4 councilor, held another press conference Tuesday demanding that Janey disavow the first negative ad of the race — by an independent super PAC that slams Campbell for associating with charter school proponents. BostonGlobe.com, 8 Sep. 2021 One of the extraordinary aspects of Mr. Chauvin’s state trial was the number of officers who took the witness stand to disavow the actions of their former colleague. New York Times, 24 Jan. 2022 Just as Republicans like Rep. Paul Gosar need to cut loose from the white-nationalist subculture, so the Democratic leadership needs to disavow their fellow-traveling with Islamists. Dominic Green, WSJ, 17 Jan. 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

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

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Last Updated

23 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disavow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disavow. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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