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

Definition of rebuff

transitive verb

: to reject or criticize sharply : snub

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Walmart has mostly rebuffed Lore’s entreaties for huge new warehouse spending, in part because of how much deeper into the red the investments would put the e-commerce business over the next few years. Jason Del Rey, Vox, "Inside the conflict at Walmart that’s threatening its high-stakes race with Amazon," 3 July 2019 The Legislature has rebuffed several efforts to place limits on lenders in recent years, including proposals to cap interest rates and block people from taking out multiple payday loans at once. Maloy Moore,, "California trails in regulating short-term lenders. This bill could finally rein them in," 25 June 2019 The Legislature had rebuffed the proposal when former Gov. Jerry Brown tried to do it last year, but some lawmakers changed their minds after 2018’s devastating fire season. Alexei Koseff,, "California lawmakers pass tax change to help working poor," 20 June 2019 Until last week, Mexico also had rebuffed offers of U.S. financial assistance to cope with the migration surge, but American officials say that too has changed. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Trump: Some aspects of Mexico deal are still secret," 10 June 2019 But university leaders have rebuffed numerous requests to bargain, saying the group has no legal standing to represent graduate assistants and the university will not negotiate with them. Dawn Rhodes,, "'We wanted a union then, and we deserved a union then': University of Chicago grad student workers go on strike," 4 June 2019 Then people in the car asked the players’ names, but were rebuffed again. David Waldstein, New York Times, "The Giants Changed Corey Ballentine’s Life. Hours Later So Did a Bullet.," 24 June 2019 The Stronach Group rebuffed a request this month by the California Horse Racing Board to shut down for the remainder of the season. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "Trainer banned at Santa Anita Park after 30th horse dies," 23 June 2019 Ahead of a meeting of leaders in late March, Brazilian officials reportedly rebuffed warnings from their American counterparts that Huawei equipment could be used for cyber-espionage. Christopher R. O'dea, National Review, "How China Weaponized the Global Supply Chain," 20 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rebuff

Listen to Our Podcast about rebuff

Statistics for rebuff

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rebuff

The first known use of rebuff was circa 1586

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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 form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!