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 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 Republicans disavow their lunatic fringe just enough to create a prophylactic of plausible deniability, while allowing the tumors to metastasize. Alyson Cole, Fortune, "Breaking the glass slipper: Can Marjorie Taylor Greene succeed as ‘Trump in drag’?," 4 Mar. 2021 Only one in five — or 19 percent — contended the opposite: the party should disavow their stronger attachments to the former president in the interest of aligning with establishment Republicans. Shannon Larson, BostonGlobe.com, "New poll finds Trump still commands considerable support amid a divided GOP," 22 Feb. 2021 All four firms disavow any wrongdoing or legal responsibility. Author: Douglas Macmillan, Kevin Schaul, Anchorage Daily News, "Drug companies seek billion-dollar tax deductions from opioid settlement," 12 Feb. 2021 But local officials were quick to disavow the idea. Sara Pagones | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Slidell casino plan debated as council paves way for public vote; see resolution," 8 Feb. 2021

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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disavow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disavow. Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for disavow



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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