re·​cant | \ ri-ˈkant How to pronounce recant (audio) \
recanted; recanting; recants

Definition of recant

transitive verb

1 : to withdraw or repudiate (a statement or belief) formally and publicly : renounce
2 : revoke

intransitive verb

: to make an open confession of error

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Other Words from recant

recantation \ ˌrē-​ˌkan-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce recant (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for recant

abjure, renounce, forswear, recant, retract mean to withdraw one's word or professed belief. abjure implies a firm and final rejecting or abandoning often made under oath. abjured the errors of his former faith renounce may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown. renounced abstract art and turned to portrait painting forswear may add an implication of perjury or betrayal. I cannot forswear my principles recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught. if they recant they will be spared retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation. the newspaper had to retract the story

Examples of recant in a Sentence

Church officials asked the minister to recant. Witnesses threatened to recant their testimony when the court released their names to the paper.
Recent Examples on the Web San Francisco attorney Paul Scott sent López a letter in early February warning of a potential lawsuit if the board did not recant its vote on renaming, saying the board did not properly allow for community participation. Los Angeles Times, "Faced with lawsuits, San Francisco pauses renaming schools to focus on reopening classrooms," 22 Feb. 2021 According to Gebru’s account, a manager had asked her to recant or remove her name from the paper, which raised ethical concerns about A.I. language models of the sort used in Google’s sprawling search engine. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Who Gets a Say in Our Dystopian Tech Future?," 10 Dec. 2020 The concession tradition had a hiccup in 2000 when Democratic nominee Al Gore called George W. Bush to concede and then called him back to recant as the results from Florida went sideways. Jay Cannon, USA TODAY, "Bob Dole was funny, John McCain was sincere: Here's how presidential candidates have conceded over the years," 10 Nov. 2020 Afghanistan’s national intelligence agency quickly detained the two leaders of the advocacy group and coerced them to publicly recant the allegations. David Zucchino, New York Times, "An Afghan Boy’s Rape and Death Prompt a Rare Response: Arrests," 9 Oct. 2020 His stern warning comes amid a flurry of international pressure on Israel to recant on its plans. Washington Post, "UN envoy: Israeli annexation could unleash Mideast violence," 25 June 2020 Among the first was the case of Albert DeSalvo, who recanted his confessions to being the Boston Strangler in the 1960s and 1970s. Tony Plohetski, USA TODAY, "Fight over DNA in Texas cold case highlights pros, cons of so-called familial searching," 16 Feb. 2020 The men were released in 2015 after witnesses recanted their testimony, and a judge found that the officers and Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Carmen Marino suppressed evidence that supported their innocence. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Judge finds East Cleveland law director acted unethically in wrongful imprisonment case, disqualifies her from representing police officers," 13 May 2020 Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service, claimed in a Facebook post that radiation levels in the area were abnormal because of the fire but later recanted the statement. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Ukraine works to extinguish 'super-huge' fires nearing site of Chernobyl nuclear disaster," 13 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recant.' 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 recant

1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for recant

Latin recantare, from re- + cantare to sing — more at chant

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Statistics for recant

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Recant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for recant



English Language Learners Definition of recant

formal : to publicly say that you no longer have an opinion or belief that you once had
re·​cant | \ ri-ˈkant How to pronounce recant (audio) \

Legal Definition of recant

: to renounce or withdraw (prior statements or testimony) surprised the prosecution by recanting statements made earlier to the police

intransitive verb

: to renounce or withdraw prior statements or testimony

Other Words from recant

recantation \ ˌrē-​ˌkan-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce recant (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on recant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recant

Nglish: Translation of recant for Spanish Speakers

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