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 The tweet caused Alabamians to call the National Weather Service en masse, which caused the agency’s Birmingham office to rebut Trump and late-night comedians to write jokes. Avi Selk, Washington Post, "Here in Alabama, no sign of Trump’s hurricane," 8 Sep. 2019 In 2007, after, yes, James Comey made damning claims in testimony to Congress about the dispute memorialized in the notes, Gonzales reviewed them with the White House to try to rebut Comey’s claims. Marcy Wheeler, The New Republic, "How Trump’s Justice Department Screwed James Comey," 30 Aug. 2019 Courts must also consider whether the plaintiffs have rebutted the government’s evidence. David B. Kopel, National Review, "Heller’s Precarious Situation," 12 Sep. 2019 Bringing criminal charges against companies that illegally hire workers is difficult because prosecutors must prove that the employer did so knowingly, a claim easily rebutted via claims of being duped by fraudulent documentation. Fox News, "Chicken plants raided by ICE 'willfully and unlawfully' hired unauthorized workers: court documents," 10 Aug. 2019 In rebutting Scofield, prosecutor Mary Knox offered a gruesome portrait of Bombardier’s last day on Earth. Annie Sciacca, The Mercury News, "Antioch man ordered to stand trial in 1980 rape, murder of teen girl, possible necrophilia defense," 11 Sep. 2019 The defense says the study also rebuts claims from Farber Dulos that Dulos was violent or menacing toward her. Dave Altimari,, "Attorneys expected to argue numerous motions as Fotis Dulos returns to court Friday to face charges related to disappearance of estranged wife Jennifer Farber Dulos," 8 Aug. 2019 Much of the time he’s been rebutting malicious attacks with jokes. John O'sullivan, National Review, "Can Anyone Beat Boris?," 9 July 2019 The idea that the report was fake news was just as quickly rebutted by the reporter behind the story. Wired, "While You Were Offline: Could a Nuclear Bomb Stop a Hurricane?," 1 Sep. 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

26 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Rebut.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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).


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!