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

Republicans including presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney busily tried to rebut the idea. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Why isn’t Elizabeth Warren more popular in Massachusetts?," 30 July 2019 The homophobic language, because it was apparently used in jest and as only fractions of longer videos attempting to rebut Maza’s Strikethrough series, didn’t violate YouTube’s policies as far as the company was concerned. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTube drafting ‘creator-on-creator harassment’ rules after Steven Crowder incident," 12 July 2019 Meyer also said prosecutors could ask for time to consult their own medical expert to rebut the defense’s witness. Cory Shaffer,, "Lawyers for Cuyahoga County Jail guards charged with pummeling restrained inmate to challenge extent of injuries," 10 July 2019 Employers accused of Title VII typically offer evidence to rebut the assertion that gender played any role in pay calculations. Michael Mccann,, "What Mediation Means for U.S. Soccer, USWNT in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit," 21 June 2019 But to try to rebut 50 pages of allegations in the press? Christine Biederman, WIRED, "Inside’s Vicious Battle With the Feds," 18 June 2019 In March, as Trump issued another round of scathing attacks on McCain, the institute distributed a lengthy fact sheet to rebut the president’s criticisms. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "A new era for ASU's McCain Institute without namesake Sen. John McCain," 4 May 2019 Given the specific criticisms that were lobbed at Hill by Trump and his partisans, ESPN’s policy is rightly seen as an effort to rebut the perception that the network has a leftward bent. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Dan Le Batard and the Refusal to Ignore Politics," 25 July 2019 On Wednesday, Ford issued a lengthy statement to the media rebutting the Free Press investigation. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford secretly tells dealers: Fix faulty Focus, Fiesta transmissions until July 19," 18 July 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rebut

Statistics for rebut

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rebut

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rebut



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rebut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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 haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!