re·​but | \ ri-ˈbət How to pronounce rebut (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rebut

rebuttable \ ri-​ˈbə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce rebuttable (audio) \ 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 Representative Gregorio Sablan, a Democrat from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, rebutted the idea that small communities can’t uphold legal standards. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Congressman Objects to Casino-Goers Being Subject to Local Law if They Assault Women," 6 Dec. 2019 Kobick rebutted Terry’s claims that nicotine vaporizers are safer than marijuana vapes., "four-month ban on all vaping product sales," 5 Oct. 2019 Republicans will have to rebut or explain these charges. The Economist, "The Ukraine affair The new politics of Donald Trump’s impeachment," 10 Nov. 2019 The previously secret document, with its detail and clear narrative, is likely to accelerate the impeachment process and put more pressure on Trump to rebut its core contentions and on his fellow Republicans to defend him or not. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Whistleblower accuses White House of Ukraine call cover-up," 26 Sep. 2019 Unlike the procedures of the Intelligence Committee, the procedures of the Judiciary Committee should allow Trump to put on his own witnesses, rebut witnesses against him and present a legal defense. Tom Campbell, Orange County Register, "Trump’s side should be heard before House moves on impeachment: Tom Campbell," 2 Dec. 2019 It’s as though Bill Clinton had rebutted allegations of an affair with Monica Lewinsky by claiming to be a virgin. Steve Chapman,, "Column: Trump was combating corruption in Ukraine? Don’t make me laugh.," 13 Nov. 2019 Of course, there are also times when the Wolverines do look for Collins downfield, only to be rebutted by the opposing team's coverage. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's cure to passing game may be to pepper Nico Collins," 5 Nov. 2019 An attorney for the whistleblower, whose identity has not been made public, rebutted Trump's claim. Author: Ellen Nakashima, Anchorage Daily News, "Whistleblower sought guidance from Schiff’s panel before filing complaint," 2 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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 entry 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rebut

Time Traveler for rebut

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rebut

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rebut.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rebut


How to pronounce rebut (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rebut

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


re·​but | \ ri-ˈbət How to pronounce rebut (audio) \
rebutted; rebutting

Kids Definition of rebut

: to prove to be wrong by argument or by proof
re·​but | \ ri-ˈbət How to pronounce rebut (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rebut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rebut

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rebut

Spanish Central: Translation of rebut

Nglish: Translation of rebut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rebut for Arabic Speakers

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).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!