re·​buff | \ ri-ˈbəf How to pronounce rebuff (audio) \
rebuffed; rebuffing; rebuffs

Definition of rebuff

transitive verb

: to reject or criticize sharply : snub

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Other Words from rebuff

rebuff noun

Did You Know?

Occurring frequently in news articles and headlines, rebuff derives (via Middle French rebuffer) from Old Italian ribuffare, meaning "to reprimand," and ultimately from the imitative verb buffare, meaning "to puff." (You might guess that the verb buff, meaning "to polish," is a "buffare" descendant, but it is actually unrelated.) A similar word, "rebuke," shares the "criticize" sense of "rebuff," but not the "reject" sense (one can rebuke another's actions or policies, but one does not rebuke the advances of another, for example). Like "rebuke," "rebuff" can also be used as a noun, as in "His proposal was met with a stern rebuff from the Board of Trustees."

Examples of rebuff in a Sentence

Our suggestion was immediately rebuffed. The company rebuffed the bid. She rebuffed him when he asked her for a date.
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Recent Examples on the Web Biden transition aides said Wednesday the Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget continued to rebuff requests for information on a range of issues. Sabrina Siddiqui, WSJ, "Biden Transition’s Pentagon Briefings Resume Amid Dispute," 30 Dec. 2020 This entails canvassing business proposals from companies in the U.S. and continuing to rebuff the applications and push for improved bids – all the while stealing the ideas and technical elements. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "How China has built its extensive 'honey trap' spy network," 11 Dec. 2020 Abiy’s government continued to rebuff calls for talks, after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday urged the warring sides to negotiate., "Ethiopian Forces Plan Final Offensive in Dissident Region," 15 Nov. 2020 His advisers clashed over the issue, with a small group inside the campaign arguing that Biden should not be quick to rebuff a movement that was calling for major cuts to police departments. Author: Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Matt Viser, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s defeat was shaped by same instincts that boosted him in 2016," 7 Nov. 2020 The Juniper Hills area is home to several ranch houses and consists of low-lying desert terrain, the Forest Service said, which fire crews hope will help rebuff the flames that have been feeding off of the forest’s bone-dry vegetation. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Bobcat fire splits into ‘3 heads’ in Antelope Valley," 18 Sep. 2020 Associate Editor Jay Cork spent several days trying to rebuff the aluminum exterior into a mirror-like facade, without success. Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, "Minnesotans remodel their vintage camper trailers just in time for the pandemic," 28 Aug. 2020 That statement stiff-arms American efforts to forge a coalition to rebuff China’s claim to most of the South China Sea, one of the busiest waterways in the world. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Duterte bans military exercises with US in South China Sea," 4 Aug. 2020 Sierra Foothills purists will likely rebuff this spot, with its higher fee and emphasis on full-bodied Napa wines. Chris Macias,, "Napa’s Rombauer brings its butter-bomb Chardonnay to its new tasting room in Gold Country," 22 June 2020

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

circa 1586, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rebuff

Middle French rebuffer, from Old Italian ribuffare to reprimand, from ribuffo reprimand

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Time Traveler for rebuff

Time Traveler

The first known use of rebuff was circa 1586

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Statistics for rebuff

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rebuff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for rebuff



English Language Learners Definition of rebuff

formal : to refuse (something, such as an offer or suggestion) in a rude way


re·​buff | \ ri-ˈbəf How to pronounce rebuff (audio) \
rebuffed; rebuffing

Kids Definition of rebuff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to refuse (something) in a sharp or rude way His suggestion was rebuffed.



Kids Definition of rebuff (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sharp or rude refusal of something (as an offer)

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Comments on rebuff

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