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

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 But the children later recanted some of the stories of abuse after speaking to their mother, Maria Barron said. Garrett Therolf,, "Years of abuse allegations reported at Lancaster home before boy died," 24 June 2018 Attorney Elliot Slosar, who also represents Royer, said DNA evidence, recanted statements by witnesses and accusations of a detective manipulating witnesses amounted to a substantial case for Cooper's pardon. Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star, "New evidence in 2002 murder sparks another wrongful conviction claim in Elkhart," 13 June 2018 Moore claimed prosecutors pinned the rape charges on him in retaliation for recanting his statements. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "Hundreds of Illinois prisoners languish behind bars waiting for Dorothy Brown to do her job," 24 May 2018 In the months leading up to trial, two of Noor’s victims recanted. Aimee Green,, "Portland child molester gets 12 years despite victims being pressured to recant," 19 Feb. 2018 Last week, Deborah Watts, one of Till’s cousins and a co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, wrote a piece for USA Today calling for the reopening of the investigation after reports that Donham had recanted part of her story. Jenny Jarvie,, "Justice Department reopens Emmett Till case. His killing in 1955 put a spotlight on racial violence," 12 July 2018 Some witnesses have been killed, while others have recanted their testimony. New York Times, "In Colombian Death Ranch Case, Some Fear Prosecution Will Be Buried," 8 July 2018 That witness, Orlando Lopez, recanted his testimony years later, the Chicago Tribune reported. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Retired Chicago cop invokes Fifth more than 200 times during wrongful conviction case," 13 June 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

7 Oct 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

What made you want to look up recant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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