re·cuse | \ ri-ˈkyüz \
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 \ 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

Trump’s biggest impediment is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has infuriated Trump by failing to prosecute Trump’s enemies and, especially, by recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Hasn’t Trump Fired Scott Pruitt? Because Pruitt Can Fire Robert Mueller.," 3 July 2018 Kenny ordered the city to hold a new hearing on the matter, with Schenirer recused. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "City of Sacramento back to court to block Crocker Village gas station," 31 May 2018 For Mueller, that power is held by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who took over supervision of the Russia investigation when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last spring. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Can the Senate Save Robert Mueller?," 12 Apr. 2018 The ongoing Russia inquiry is being managed by Justice special counsel Robert Mueller, whose appointment last May was set in motion when Sessions recused himself from the matter. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he won't appoint a second special counsel," 29 Mar. 2018 Sessions, who left his Senate seat to be Trump's attorney general, has been the source of Trump's ire over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Howard Koplowitz,, "Shelby says he'd leave Trump if he were Sessions: 'I wouldn't be anybody's whipping boy'," 28 Feb. 2018 The president was angry when Sessions last year recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election., "‘Incensed’ Grassley Rips Sessions for Torching Justice Overhaul," 15 Feb. 2018 Schmidt presents the best account yet of how the White House got wrong-footed when Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "3 Important Takeaways From the Latest Mueller Investigation Bombshell," 5 Jan. 2018 And Democrats have started arguing that Kavanaugh should pledge to recuse himself from issues related to Trump. Matt Viser,, "For questions of presidential power, Brett Kavanaugh has several answers," 14 July 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

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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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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The first known use of recuse was in 1829

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More Definitions for recuse

re·cuse | \ ri-ˈkyüz \
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

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occurring twice a year or every two years

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