re·​cuse | \ ri-ˈkyüz How to pronounce recuse (audio) \
recused; recusing

Definition of recuse

transitive verb

: to disqualify (oneself) as judge in a particular case broadly : to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest

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Other Words from recuse

recusal \ ri-​ˈkyü-​zəl How to pronounce recusal (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Recuse is derived from the Anglo-French word recuser, which comes from Latin recusare, meaning "to refuse." English speakers began using "recuse" with the meaning "to refuse or reject" in the 14th century. By the 17th century, the term had acquired the meaning "to challenge or object to (a judge)." The current legal use of "recuse" as a term specifically meaning "to disqualify (oneself) as a judge" didn't come into frequent use until the mid-20th century. Broader applications soon followed from this sense - you can now recuse yourself from such things as debates and decisions as well as court cases.

Examples of recuse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That prosecutor unexpectedly recused himself from the case late last year. Washington Post, "Woman charged in former lawmaker’s death faces new charges," 14 Jan. 2020 Defense Secretary Mark Esper recused himself from the review less than a month before the contract was awarded, citing his son's employment at IBM — which had also briefly been in the running for JEDI. Brian Fung, CNN, "Amazon will ask a court to block Microsoft from working on a $10 billion cloud computing contract," 13 Jan. 2020 The Times’s editorial page editor, James Bennet, whose brother, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, is running for the Democratic nomination, has recused himself from any involvement in the 2020 elections. Lara Takenaga, New York Times, "How and Why Our Editorial Board Endorses Political Candidates," 13 Jan. 2020 Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, who normally is the county elections board’s attorney, recused himself since Elkins supported his campaign. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Federal investigators subpoena campaign spending records for Newburgh Heights mayor," 7 Jan. 2020 The Dallas County district attorney’s office later recused itself from the case, and Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson was appointed as a special prosecutor in December. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Contempt charge dropped against Dallas County DA John Creuzot over Amber Guyger interview," 6 Jan. 2020 The judge in Hunter Biden’s Arkansas paternity case has recused. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, "Judge in Hunter Biden paternity case recuses," 31 Dec. 2019 Floresville’s mayor recused herself from last Monday’s City Council meeting. Gilbert Garcia,, "Floresville mayor files suit against council colleagues," 14 Dec. 2019 Three members of the court — Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, Associate Justice Margaret Chutich and Associate Justice Paul Thissen — recused themselves from consideration of the case. Tom Olsen, Twin Cities, "Minnesota Supreme Court denies final appeal from former UMD coaches," 3 Dec. 2019

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

1829, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for recuse

Middle English, to refuse, reject, from Anglo-French recuser, from Latin recusare

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Time Traveler for recuse

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The first known use of recuse was in 1829

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2020.

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More Definitions for recuse

re·​cuse | \ ri-ˈkyüz How to pronounce recuse (audio) \
recused; recusing

Legal Definition of recuse

1 : to challenge or object to (as a judge) as having prejudice or a conflict of interest
2 : to disqualify (as oneself or another judge or official) for a proceeding by a judicial act because of prejudice or conflict of interest an order recusing the district attorney from any proceeding may be appealed by the district attorney or the Attorney GeneralCalifornia Penal Code

Other Words from recuse

recusement noun

History and Etymology for recuse

Anglo-French recuser to refuse, from Middle French, from Latin recusare, from re- back + causari to give a reason, from causa cause, reason

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recuse

Comments on recuse

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


to assert without proof or before proving

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