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

After the trip, the couple contacted the airline several times, in hopes of receiving a partial refund, but said they were rebuffed. Sean P. Murphy,, "A trip to Ireland balloons from $2,100 to nearly $17,000," 25 Aug. 2019 The goodwill flights were rebuffed by the North Vietnamese, but some of the POWs later said their living conditions improved after Perot’s effort. Scott Martelle,, "Ross Perot dead: Texas billionaire and former presidential candidate succumbs to leukemia at 89," 9 July 2019 But her invitation later in the week to meet behind closed doors was rebuffed by student unions at two Hong Kong universities as insincere and a publicity gimmick. Washington Post, "Mothers rally as Hong Kong’s divide shows no sign of closing," 6 July 2019 This disclosure by Pattis was strongly rebuffed by the family and friends of Faber Dulos, who said the manuscript was nothing like Pattis described. Nicholas Rondinone,, "Attorney for Fotis Dulos says he offered to have client sit with prosecutors, discuss Jennifer Farber Dulos’ state of mind before her disappearance," 26 June 2019 She was rebuffed the first time because CBS’ management, including its former powerful chief executive, Leslie Moonves, and independent board members worried that the battered Viacom would be a drag on CBS. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, "CBS-Viacom merger reunites the storied network with Comedy Central, MTV and Paramount Pictures," 13 Aug. 2019 While girls sporadically participated in other states in the early years of the organization, an initial push to allow official membership at the 1935 national convention was strongly rebuffed. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "Girl-powered FFA: Texas student ag organization sees new wave of female leaders," 21 July 2019 Yet the group’s effort to deliver the petition to Wayfair at its Back Bay headquarters was rebuffed by building security. Allison Hagan,, "Activists pledging to organize a boycott of Wayfair," 19 July 2019 But Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have been rebuffed at nearly every turn in their efforts to take testimony from people affiliated with the president. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, "House Judiciary Committee Authorizes Subpoenas to Ex-Trump Campaign Officials," 11 July 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

9 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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