re·​but | \ri-ˈbət \
rebutted; rebutting

Definition of rebut 

transitive verb

1 : to drive or beat back : repel

2a : to contradict or oppose by formal legal argument, plea, or countervailing proof

b : to expose the falsity of : refute

intransitive verb

: to make or furnish an answer or counter proof

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Other Words from rebut

rebuttable \ ri-​ˈbə-​tə-​bəl \ adjective

Did You Know?

The -but in rebut once meant basically "butt", so rebut's original meanings were "to drive or beat back" and "to attack with violent language". Rebuttals can still be rather violent, as anyone who has watched some heated moments in a presidential debate can testify. The word is often used by lawyers, since the lawyer for the accused or for the party being sued almost always tries to rebut the charges against his or her client; but it's also used in plenty of contexts outside the courtroom.

Examples of rebut in a Sentence

Her lawyer attempted to rebut the witness's testimony. Stalingrad's defenders were finally able to rebut the besiegers, but only after a horrendous loss of life.

Recent Examples on the Web

Moreover, the Democrats were able to effectively rebut many Republican talking points, notably by calling attention to the fact that Strzok’s dim view of the GOP was shared by many Republicans in the past. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Washington Post worries Strzok hearings were bad for democracy.," 13 July 2018 The report, though, largely seemed to rebut the president’s claims. Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, "In assessing donations to McCabe’s wife, inspector general does not find what Trump had hoped," 14 June 2018 Still, those are only opinions, and an Immelt spokesman notes that the strong performance of GE’s jet engine and health care businesses rebuts the notion of a broad cultural problem. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "What the Hell Happened at GE?," 24 May 2018 Prosecutors rebutted that by calling Baker-Kinney's best friend to the stand. Fox News, "Bill Cosby faces accusers in court including supermodel Janice Dickinson," 12 Apr. 2018 The testimony phase, however, is not officially over because prosecutors want to recall one of their prior witnesses to rebut testimony given by the final witness who testified today for Gary Cain, Uresti’s co-defendant. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Lawyers for Uresti’s co-defendant rest their case," 15 Feb. 2018 An insider rebutted the rumors and told PEOPLE at the time that Winstead and McGregor were still dating. Alexia Fernandez,, "Ewan McGregor and Mary Elizabeth Winstead Going Strong 6 Months After His Split from Wife," 6 Apr. 2018 There are plenty of reasons to object to a mode of progressive politics that emphasizes suppressing reactionary views rather than rebutting them. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Feds Jailed Gun Owner for Making Politically Incorrect Facebook Posts," 11 May 2018 Some are designed to rebut the charge by Mr Rajoy’s People’s Party that the new prime minister is a hostage to the Catalan nationalists and Podemos, a populist leftist party, whose parliamentary votes helped to bring him to office. The Economist, "Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, assembles a reassuring team," 7 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rebut.' 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 rebut

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for rebut

Middle English, from Anglo-French reboter, from re- + boter to butt — more at butt

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Statistics for rebut

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rebut

The first known use of rebut was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for rebut



English Language Learners Definition of rebut

: to prove (something) is false by using arguments or evidence


re·​but | \ri-ˈbət \
rebutted; rebutting

Kids Definition of rebut

: to prove to be wrong by argument or by proof

re·​but | \ri-ˈbət \
rebutted; rebutting

Legal Definition of rebut 

: to refute, counteract, or disprove (as opposing evidence) by evidence or argument rebut damaging testimony rebut a presumption

Other Words from rebut

rebuttable adjective
rebuttably adverb

History and Etymology for rebut

Anglo-French reboter rebuter to answer a charge, bar from an action, literally, to repulse, rebuff, from Old French reboter, from re- back + boter to push, butt

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Comments on rebut

What made you want to look up rebut? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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