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 disavowable (audio) \ adjective
disavowal \ ˌdis-​ə-​ˈvau̇(-​ə)l How to pronounce disavowal (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 Zocco disavowed any knowledge of the child pornography police found. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Solving the mystery behind the disappearance of Kelly Dwyer," 2 Nov. 2019 The comments created a furor, and Honcharuk disavowed them. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "How Trump’s Emissaries Put Pressure on Ukraine’s New President," 26 Oct. 2019 Jordan later disavowed its claim on the West Bank and severed administrative ties in 1988, leaving the status of its former citizens further in limbo. Daniel J. Arbess, WSJ, "The True-State Solution," 2 Jan. 2019 Hanson created a legendary Twitter handle — @thatwasmymom — and in a literally perfect first tweet, disavowed her comments and claimed himself an ally of women in their struggle for equality. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Google has a big advantage over Facebook in a crisis," 10 Oct. 2018 Three crucial questions for the president: How will the U.S. ensure the Taliban obeys its pledge to disavow al-Qaida and preempt any revival of anti-West terrorism? Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: 3 questions about an Afghanistan peace deal," 8 Sep. 2019 Louis Agassiz, a celebrated 19th-century Harvard zoologist, has been disavowed by his field for advancing racist theories concerning the intellectual inferiority of blacks, though his family name still appears prominently throughout campus. Murray Whyte, BostonGlobe.com, "On the walls at Harvard museums, calling out art’s racist, sexist history," 31 Aug. 2019 And the company's recent Las Vegas presentation was interrupted by one very persistent heckler and then disavowed by Black Hat, leading to a lawsuit against the conference. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Snake oil or genius? Crown Sterling tells its side of Black Hat controversy," 29 Aug. 2019 Many such renderings sprang from a culture controlled by Christian leaders, including the Vatican in Rome, which did not until 1965 disavow the notion — written in the Gospel of John — that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. Los Angeles Times, "Trump’s Jewish comments play on anti-Semitism in culture, film and art," 21 Aug. 2019

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

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Disavow.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disavowed. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for disavow

disavow

verb
How to pronounce disavow (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disavow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disavow

Britannica English: Translation of disavow for Arabic Speakers

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