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 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 Many in the protest movement are sympathetic to those who ransacked Legco, while disavowing the violence. The Economist, "Protesters expose a fractured Hong Kong, but China’s grip only tightens," 5 July 2019 Homophobic gestures, signs, symbols and messages will be sent, but they will also be disavowed, denied, laughed off or contextualized to seem less overtly offensive. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "LGBT artists sent messages from the closet to survive before Stonewall. Now, homophobes are coopting the technique.," 20 June 2019 After all, Trump disavowed the consensus statement last year. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The global economy is slipping toward recession — and Trump is making it worse," 25 Aug. 2019 In meetings with juvenile justice advocates in June and July, officials with the Division of Youth Services discussed, but did not disavow, the practice of the side-hold, according to the ACLU of Colorado. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Colorado youth correctional facilities’ method of restraining juveniles developed without oversight, report finds," 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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Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

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
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)

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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