re·​buff | \ri-ˈbəf \
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

Los Blancos are also known to be considering Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois after seeing Manchester United's David de Gea sign an extended contract at Old Trafford, however an informal approach from Real was rebuffed by the Blues., "Top Liverpool Target Agrees Personal Terms With Real Madrid as Fee Negotiations Continue," 16 June 2018 The challenge is convincing regulators that the world has changed since 2014, when a merger of the two companies was firmly rebuffed by the Justice Department. David Mclaughlin And Sara Forden, Houston Chronicle, "Sprint plunges on concerns feds won't approve T-Mobile merger," 30 Apr. 2018 The challenge is convincing regulators that the world has changed since 2014, when a merger of the two companies was firmly rebuffed by the Justice Department. Fortune, "Why Sprint Shares Are Plummeting on News of Its Takeover by T-Mobile," 30 Apr. 2018 Despite winning two state titles and earning Oregon 4A player of the year honors at Central High School, just two miles east of Western's campus, Omlid's interest in WOU was rebuffed. Nick Daschel,, "Western Oregon's Tanner Omlid lands two basketball All-American honors," 20 May 2017 Then, Carlson asked the new dean and Ford’s successor, Elizabeth Francis-Connolly, for a new supervisor, and she was rebuffed. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018 The White House and the Trump Organization have previously rebuffed requests made by Democrats in Congress that haven’t been co-signed by majority Republicans, though the company has responded to bipartisan requests from lawmakers. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "House Democrats to Probe Trump’s Role in Hush Payments," 11 Nov. 2018 The Saudis, for example, could turn to Russian or Chinese bidders if they’re rebuffed by the US. Alex Ward, Vox, "Exclusive: House Democrat to introduce new bill punishing Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi," 9 Nov. 2018 The European Court of Human Rights has also rebuffed the Spanish judiciary for protecting the royal family and sided earlier this year with two Spaniards who set fire in public to a photograph of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia. Lorne Cook, The Seattle Times, "Belgian court rules out extradition for Spanish rapper," 17 Sep. 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

2 Dec 2018

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

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


re·​buff | \ri-ˈbəf \
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

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