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

Judge Genece Brinkley, who has been heading up Mill’s case, has denied Mill’s request for bail, and declined to recuse herself from legal proceedings. Nick Vadala,, "New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visits Meek Mill at Chester prison," 11 Apr. 2018 Steiner has filed a separate lawsuit challenging the vote, which was led by a planning board member who lives next to the property and had declined to recuse himself from the vote. Josh Kovner,, "Senator: State Should Shop Seaside Property In Waterford — Again," 5 Mar. 2018 But Wheeler — who recused himself from strategy sessions on Pruitt’s ethics woes — has devoted most of his time to internal agency policy briefings and meetings with career staff since joining the EPA in April. Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, "Shift at EPA shows technocrats are replacing big-personality Cabinet members," 6 July 2018 Culver was to be arraigned this morning in city court, but Presiding Judge Lonzo Robinson recused all local judges from the case. Ashley Remkus,, "City judges recuse from Huntsville councilman's DUI case," 23 Apr. 2018 In fact, Comey had shown questionable judgment in taking charge of the case after then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch recused herself over her tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton shortly before the FBI was to interview his wife. Elizabeth Drew, The New Republic, "The Slippery James Comey," 20 Apr. 2018 Barr would replace acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who declined to recuse himself from the investigation. Eric Tucker, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s AG nominee defends memo criticizing Mueller probe," 15 Jan. 2019 Lynch did not comply with the calls, which were mainly from Republican lawmakers, to recuse herself, and instead accepted Comey’s July 5 recommendation. Abby Vesoulis, Time, "The Inspector General's Report Criticizes James Comey. Here's What You Need to Know," 14 June 2018 Harris challenged Haspel to recuse herself from the decisions about declassification of her own record. Author: Karoun Demirjian, Shane Harris, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s pick to lead CIA pledges she won’t restart interrogation program," 9 May 2018

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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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

More from Merriam-Webster on recuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recuse

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