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 State election officials acknowledge that hacking attempts to their systems continue to this day but say they so far have been rebuffed. Rick Pearson,, "3 years after Russian hackers tapped Illinois voter database, officials spending millions to safeguard 2020 election," 5 Aug. 2019 Gadelha goes for a takedown at the end of the round but is rebuffed. Todd Martin,, "UFC 239: Jon Jones defeats Thiago Santos; Nunes stops Holm," 6 July 2019 Rahn wrote that state transportation officials have repeatedly tried to audit the Washington system, but been rebuffed. Luke Broadwater,, "Demanding an audit, Maryland Gov. Hogan withholds $55M from Washington Metro transit system," 2 July 2019 Necefer also says that attempts to reach out to some members of the WTSA coalition were rebuffed. Christine Yu, Outside Online, "What Happened at the SHIFT Festival?," 25 June 2019 But he was repeatedly rebuffed, with the North Korean leader preferring to press ahead with his missile and nuclear testing program. Anna Fifield,, "North Korean leader holds first direct talks with delegation from rival South," 5 Mar. 2018 Interestingly, however, Football Insider claim that Leeds rebuffed multiple offers 'in excess of £20m' during the summer - but, his release clause remains in a similar region., "Kalvin Phillips Release Clause Revealed as Midfielder Pens New Leeds United Deal," 10 Sep. 2019 Because Vandemoer had put the money into university athletic accounts instead of pocketing it personally, the judge in his case found the school had not been harmed financially and rebuffed prosecutors’ request for a 13- month sentence. Los Angeles Times, "In college admissions scandal a judge must decide: Does it matter how much parents paid?," 10 Sep. 2019 Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said in a Twitter post Sunday that government forces in Pul-i-Kumri had rebuffed the Taliban attack. David Zucchino,, "Taliban attack 2d Afghan city in 2 days as peace deal nears," 1 Sep. 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.

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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

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for rebuff

The first known use of rebuff was circa 1586

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More Definitions for rebuff


How to pronounce rebuff (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rebuff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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