dis·​own | \(ˌ)dis-ˈōn \

Definition of disown 

transitive verb

1 : to refuse to acknowledge as one's own

2a : to repudiate any connection or identification with

b : to deny the validity or authority of

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Other Words from disown

disownment \ -​mənt \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for disown


deny, disavow, disclaim, repudiate


acknowledge, avow, claim, own, recognize

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Examples of disown in a Sentence

Her parents threatened to disown her if she didn't go back to school. He was disowned for bringing shame to the family.

Recent Examples on the Web

By January 1738, the Abington Meeting had enough of Lay’s disruptions and formally disowned him. Susan Hogan, Washington Post, "‘In the belly of hell’: The Quaker abolitionist disowned by his faith for condemning slave owners," 14 May 2018 But a group of lawmakers on the committee who are strong proponents of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union disowned the document. New York Times, BostonGlobe.com, "Lawmakers say Britain should consider delaying EU exit," 18 Mar. 2018 He's been disowned by both the national and Illinois GOP. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Another candidate with problematic views on race just won his GOP primary," 13 June 2018 My mom, a die-hard Spanish citizen and fan, has probably just disowned me. Alex Ward, Vox, "9 questions about the 2018 World Cup you were too embarrassed to ask," 12 June 2018 Rodriguez is the standout as Blanca, who gives shelter to a gay dancer, Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain), disowned by his parents. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Pose,' 'Dietland' offer strong heroines," 31 May 2018 She was disowned by her father, and after her husband died, she was ostracized from society. refinery29.com, "Why Saudi Arabia’s First Woman Director Only Makes Movies About Trailblazers," 29 May 2018 Your barber and anybody that’s ever been appreciative of your line-up will frown on you, and possibly disown you. Assure them that the ends justify the means. Alexander-julian Gibbson, GQ, "How to Get Waves," 25 May 2018 Kansas City’s return to baseball after 1967, when Athletics owner Charlie Finley finally made good on his threats of disowning the city and relocated to Oakland, was not a given. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Kansas City got a second chance at the majors, and made it work," 15 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disown.' 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 disown

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for disown

Last Updated

28 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disown

The first known use of disown was in 1630

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More Definitions for disown



English Language Learners Definition of disown

: to say or decide that you will no longer be connected with, associated with, or responsible for (someone or something)


dis·​own | \dis-ˈōn \
disowned; disowning

Kids Definition of disown

: to refuse to accept any longer a relationship with or connection to … they disowned my mother when she got married …— Judy Blume, Are You There God?

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