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

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Other Words from rebut

rebuttable \ ri-​ˈbə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce rebut (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 Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze, asked if the governor wanted to rebut Hinojosa, Schwertner or West, did not respond directly. Robert T. Garrett, Dallas News, "Texas Senate approves plan to levy $1M a day fines for power companies that don’t weatherize plants," 29 Mar. 2021 Moses has accused Farrow of being an abusive parent, a claim that Daisy and Fletcher Previn both rebut in the series. Washington Post, "‘Allen v. Farrow’: 4 takeaways from the final episode, which focuses on the fallout of the trial," 15 Mar. 2021 One early inkling that Mr. Ma was falling out of favor in Beijing came in late 2018, when Mr. Xi invited some 50 entrepreneurs to rebut criticism that his policies were hurting the private sector. Keith Zhai, WSJ, "China Lays Plans to Tame Tech Giant Alibaba," 11 Mar. 2021 Some people will say, sure, the market fell but continues to bounce on moves lower, and that’s hard to rebut. Jj Kinahan, Forbes, "After Amazing Comeback, Market Looks Around For Catalysts Ahead Of More Powell Testimony," 24 Feb. 2021 The prosecutors on Wednesday aimed to preemptively rebut arguments that Trump’s lawyers have indicated are central to their defense, arguing for instance that there was no First Amendment protection for the president’s encouragement of the invaders. Anchorage Daily News, "Rioters acting on Trump’s ‘orders,’ Democrats say in trial," 11 Feb. 2021 The managers will try to rebut them as much with constitutional arguments as an overwhelming compendium of evidence. New York Times, "Impeachment Case Aims to Marshal Outrage of Capitol Attack Against Trump," 7 Feb. 2021 Democrats are ready to rebut any unsubstantiated claims of fraud and malfeasance. al, "Marathon of Congressional Electoral College objections will only delay the inevitable," 6 Jan. 2021 Azar sought to rebut that concern Wednesday, saying that pending contracts with a number of manufacturers will ensure enough vaccine for all Americans by around the middle of next year. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar,, "US is now trying to get more of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine after passing up a chance to lock in a contract this summer," 16 Dec. 2020

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 entry 3

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Time Traveler for rebut

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rebut

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rebut.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rebut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rebut

Nglish: Translation of rebut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rebut for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rebut

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