rebut

verb
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

Typically lawmakers announcing new legislation don’t feel the need to simultaneously try to rebut anticipated claims that the bill is unconstitutional. James Freeman, WSJ, "Elizabeth Warren’s Unconstitutional Wealth Tax," 25 Jan. 2019 Under the law, some cancers and other illnesses are assumed to be due to chemical or radiological exposures at Hanford unless that presumption can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Justice Department sues Washington state over law to compensate sick Hanford workers," 11 Dec. 2018 Judge Brett Kavanaugh has a responsibility to come forward with evidence to rebut them. Fox News, "High school friend of Kavanaugh reacts to new allegation; Alan Dershowitz on Kavanaugh chaos," 28 Sep. 2018 Rouhani rejected the allegations without specifically rebutting them (and went on to win anyway). Ian Bremmer, Time, "5 Politicos With Questionable Academic Credentials," 5 Mar. 2018 And as far as this column can tell no one at that time was publicly rebutting her claim. James Freeman, WSJ, "Harvard, Penn and the Warren Story," 17 Oct. 2018 Rob Goldman, Facebook’s vice president of ads, rebutted the op-ed in a Twitter thread today. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why we can’t stop debating whether Facebook sells data," 14 Dec. 2018 In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert didn’t rebut or even acknowledge the CIA assessment. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, "Analysis: Path Grows Rockier for Trump’s Saudi Policy," 18 Nov. 2018 Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes, the prosecutor who had rejected Nenner’s assertions about Morrison more than a year earlier, tried to rebut the evidence. Mensah M. Dean, Philly.com, "3 charged, none convicted: Why a North Philly murder remains unsolved," 29 May 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

16 Feb 2019

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

rebut

verb

English Language Learners Definition of rebut

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

rebut

verb
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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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

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