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 recantation (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 Police relied on testimony from those in jail who have since recanted their statements. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Life sentence for black teenager prompts calls for Klobuchar to end presidential bid," 30 Jan. 2020 With a trio of female leads, the show explores the heartbreaking pressure placed upon a troubled teenager who is coerced into falsely recanting her rape claims, as well as the ways in which various legal systems conspire against the helpless. The Economist, "The best television shows of the year, as chosen by The Economist," 20 Dec. 2019 After identifying minor inconsistencies in her accounts of what happened, the police pressure Marie into recanting her statement, and she's ultimately branded a liar. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Unbelievable's Kaitlyn Dever on Why She Chose Not to Speak with the Real Marie," 25 Sep. 2019 Two decades later, amid efforts by Schand to overturn his conviction, several witnesses against Schand recanted their testimony, claiming that they were induced to lie by Springfield detectives. Josh Kovner,, "New Britain’s Mark Schand awarded $27M by federal jury in wrongful imprisonment lawsuit," 23 Sep. 2019 But when the 14-year-old girl reportedly recanted her claims just before Phelps was scheduled to go to trial in February 2013, Steele requested the charges related to the alleged contact with the girl be dropped. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Ex-Kentucky school official pardoned by Bevin had been convicted in child porn case," 19 Dec. 2019 Rasmussen calls up Lynwood PD and speaks with Detective Parker, the man who was responsible for Marie recanting her report. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Unbelievable boss explains why Netflix's adaptation stays true to the real-life case," 18 Sep. 2019 The first one takes place in 2008, following the fallout Marie faces after recanting her statement of being raped after being asked repeatedly by apathetic detectives. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Unbelievable" Actor Danielle Macdonald on How the Series Puts an Important Focus on Survivors of Trauma," 13 Sep. 2019 In 2015, Hurt's accuser recanted her testimony in an evidentiary hearing. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin pardons man serving life sentence for sex abuse of 6-year-old stepdaughter," 25 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for recant

Time Traveler

The first known use of recant was in 1535

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Statistics for recant

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for recant


How to pronounce recant (audio)

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 recantation (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on recant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recant

Spanish Central: Translation of recant

Nglish: Translation of recant for Spanish Speakers

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