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

When the true bully emerged—one of a pair of twins whose mother, Celeste (Nicole Kidman), received regular brutal beatings at home from her husband Perry and so began to mimic his father’s violent behaviors—Renata had to recant. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Big Little Lies Gets Tough," 28 June 2019 Domestic violence experts have pointed out that many women later recant their initial reports of abuse. Elaine Ayala,, "Castro, Doggett announce town hall on domestic violence in San Antonio," 6 June 2019 In response, Wilson’s attorneys revealed that one of those witnesses has since recanted, claiming he was threatened into making false statements from the stand. Megan Crepeau,, "Judge who tossed tainted confession to rule if Jackie Wilson should be freed," 21 June 2018 The dog wasn’t injured in the purported toss, which occurred hours before his longtime girlfriend --- who has since recanted the allegations of abuse --- called Los Gatos, Calif., police, The Sacramento Bee reported. A.j. Perez, USA TODAY, "49ers' linebacker Reuben Foster allegedly threw dog during domestic incident," 7 May 2018 The constituent apparently recanted the claim on Twitter ahead of Thursday's hearing. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation derailed by sexual misconduct allegations: A list of his accusers," 27 Sep. 2018 Despite what Trump’s comments might lead people to believe, neither Ford or Ramirez have recanted any part of their claims against Kavanaugh. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Trump’s final preelection speeches featured vicious attacks on Kavanaugh accusers," 6 Nov. 2018 In addition, the sole source for Al Jazeera’s allegations has publicly recanted them. Jenny Green, Indianapolis Star, "5 things we now know about the Al Jazeera-Peyton Manning legal battle," 13 June 2018 Mitchell, meanwhile, has recanted her testimony, defense filings claim. Chris Palmer,, "Could one Philly convict's exoneration prompt DA Larry Krasner to examine other decades-old murders?," 15 Feb. 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

1 Jul 2019

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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recant

Spanish Central: Translation of recant

Nglish: Translation of recant for Spanish Speakers

Comments on recant

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to complain fretfully

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