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

Phoenix communicated with Philadelphia as the draft progressed through the top 10, but the Sixers continued to rebuff the Suns’ offers. Jake Fischer,, "From War Rooms to the Green Room: Behind the Scenes of Thursday's No. 16 Pick Chaos," 23 June 2018 There’s more than one way to rebuff the Pentagon’s plan to limit transgender participation in the military. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, "120 House Democrats hit ‘flawed’ science in Pentagon’s plan limiting transgender people in military," 12 June 2018 A few made it to the other side only to be rebuffed by Border Patrol agents on shore. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "Caught in limbo, Central American asylum-seekers are left waiting on a bridge over the Rio Grande," 5 June 2018 At one point, the president even tried to pressure Mr. Sessions to reverse himself, only to be rebuffed. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Why Is Trump Mad at Sessions? A Tweet Provides the Answer," 5 June 2018 Three years earlier, the University of Oregon bid to host NCAA men's basketball tournament games only to be rebuffed because of the organization's opposition to the state's sports betting. Sean Meagher,, "Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers Game 2 score, TV channel, how to watch live stream," 15 May 2018 On Capitol Hill, most Republican senators sought to ignore the FBI’s raid on Cohen and continued to rebuff calls for legislation that would protect the special counsel from firing., "Conservatives are making the case to fire Robert Mueller," 11 Apr. 2018 The White House reportedly reached out to some of D.C.’s top law firms about representing the president last summer, only to be rebuffed by all of them. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Worst Job in Washington," 22 Mar. 2018 Netanyahu's team hurried to rebuff the claims, arguing instead that this was an innocent gift exchange between lifelong friends. David Caspi, The Hollywood Reporter, "Israeli Police Recommend Charging Producer Arnon Milchan With Bribery," 13 Feb. 2018

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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Statistics for rebuff

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rebuff

The first known use of rebuff was circa 1586

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on rebuff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rebuff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rebuff

Spanish Central: Translation of rebuff

Nglish: Translation of rebuff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rebuff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rebuff

What made you want to look up rebuff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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