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

Neither Kavanaugh nor Ford were questioned; witnesses who came forward with tales to tell were rebuffed. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “Look At Us!”," 7 Oct. 2018 However, their initial attempts at signing Vrsaljko have been rebuffed by Los Rojiblancos., "Inter's Offer for Sime Vrsaljko Rejected By Atletico Madrid Amid Premier League Interest," 28 June 2018 The safety board has no power to write regulations, and over the years its suggestions have often been rebuffed by other agencies. David Koenig, The Seattle Times, "Safety board highlights need for transportation improvements," 4 Feb. 2019 On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence offered Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer a funding deal that included $2.5 billion for border security and was roundly rebuffed by Democrats. Li Zhou, Vox, "Wednesday is day 5 of a partial government shutdown. It could go on for a while.," 26 Dec. 2018 True, Ocasio-Cortez boosted her in June, and Democratic leadership rebuffed her, reluctant as usual to back someone in a seat a Democrat already occupies. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "When a Woman Wins, It Doesn't Mean She's an 'Upset.' It Means She Ran a Better Race.," 5 Sep. 2018 Koch said a recent effort to hire more female officers was rebuffed by state civil service officials, who do not have to grant requests to hire from a list of job candidates with a specific skill set. Jill Terreri Ramos,, "Trying for diversity, city police still fall short," 9 June 2018 Megan Brennan, who has served as U.S. Postmaster General since 2014, has rebuffed Trump several times, the Post reports. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Report: Trump’s Desperate to Punish Amazon by Doubling Its Postal Rate," 18 May 2018 Also appearing in the video, Fallon and Mark Ronson attempted to give Cyrus multiple gifts, but all were ridiculed or rebuffed. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Miley Cyrus Perform Her Feminist Version of 'Santa Baby'," 22 Dec. 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

11 Mar 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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