Definition of disavow
- disavowed the actions of his subordinates
- party leaders disavowed him
- … have publicly disavowed any claim on the Graceland estate.
- —Dan Chu
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He disavowed the actions of his subordinates.
She now seems to be trying to disavow her earlier statements.
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.
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.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
What made you want to look up disavow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to lessen the seriousness or strength of
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