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

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 McCabe, working through the FBI press office, authorized a spokesman and a bureau lawyer to speak with The Journal to rebut allegations that McCabe had put the brakes on the Clinton Foundation investigation. Matt Apuzzo And Adam Goldman,, "FBI’s McCabe is fired a little more than 24 hours before he could retire," 17 Mar. 2018 García rebutted, saying the women had already gone and come back before and needed to make their claim. NBC News, "Try later: It's getting tougher for migrants to claim asylum at U.S. ports of entry," 23 June 2018 The media’s case will be decided by the state Supreme Court, which is also considering a separate challenge from the unnamed clergy members about their right to rebut the grand jury findings., "Clergy abuse victim says Pa. Supreme Court has intensified 'emotional trauma'," 6 July 2018 Ollie has not yet had the chance to rebut the many allegations levied against him in front of a neutral party. Michael Mccann,, "Breaking Down Kevin Ollie's Case Against UConn and the University's Likely Defenses," 29 June 2018 Stocks recovered some of those losses after a top U.S. trade adviser rebutted those reports. Marley Jay, The Seattle Times, "US stocks inch higher a day after sharp losses; GE leaps," 26 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

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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Statistics for rebut

Last Updated

14 Sep 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

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Comments on rebut

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