re·​cu·​sant ˈre-kyə-zənt How to pronounce recusant (audio)
: an English Roman Catholic of the time from about 1570 to 1791 who refused to attend services of the Church of England and thereby committed a statutory offense
: one who refuses to accept or obey established authority
recusant adjective

Examples of recusant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The uniform of the conformist — sports shirt, cardigan, tennis shoes — is as easily recognized as that of the recusant — dirty white T, sideburns, two days’ growth of beard. Chris Jones,, 15 July 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'recusant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin recusant-, recusans, present participle of recusare to reject, oppose, from re- + causari to give a reason, from causa cause, reason

First Known Use

circa 1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of recusant was circa 1553


Dictionary Entries Near recusant

Cite this Entry

“Recusant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition


ˈre-kyə-zənt, ri-ˈkyü-
: refusing to submit to authority
the recusant witness failed to appear despite a subpoena
recusant noun

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