re·​cant | \ri-ˈkant \
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 \ 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

Instead, the defectors are expected to recant all of their views. Jane Coaston, Vox, "How Trump-skeptical Republicans swung the 2018 midterms," 15 Nov. 2018 They may be pressured to recant their story or ostracized by their social circle. Elizabeth Bernstein, WSJ, "The Complex Reasons Sexual Assaults Go Unreported," 29 Sep. 2018 In the statement from Ennis' attorney Stphanie Rickard that recanted her accusation, Rickard said the injuries Ennis suffered were from a fight Ennis had with another woman. Khadrice Rollins,, "Reuben Foster's Accuser Testifies at Preliminary Hearing She Lied About Domestic Violence Incident," 17 May 2018 Today, the cathedral’s official name, Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, honors Eulalia, a local girl who refused to accept Roman Emperor Diocletian’s demand to recant her Christian faith. Gemma Askham, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Things to Do in Barcelona," 3 Mar. 2018 Al Jazeera is trying to find out whether the investigators influenced Sly to recant his initial statement implying that the star quarterback ordered drugs under his wife's name. Laken Litman, Indianapolis Star, "HGH sent to Peyton Manning's home, but lawyers say it wasn't for QB according to report," 11 June 2018 Amid regional and global uproar, the Lebanese leader returned to Beirut and recanted his resignation days later. Karl Vick, Time, "The Saudi Crown Prince Thinks He Can Transform the Middle East. Should We Believe Him?," 5 Apr. 2018 Based on those doubts, the detectives coerced her into recanting and then charged her with a crime: false reporting. Claudia Rowe, The Seattle Times, "‘A False Report’ looks at a local story of rape and its aftermath," 3 Feb. 2018 Prosecutors presented no physical evidence tying Robinson to the crime and two key witnesses recanted statements that Robinson was the killer. Fox News, "Missouri man to be released after nearly 20 years in prison," 14 May 2018

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

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for recant

The first known use of recant was in 1535

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English Language Learners Definition of recant

: to publicly say that you no longer have an opinion or belief that you once had

re·​cant | \ri-ˈkant \

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 \ noun

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Comments on recant

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a private place of worship

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