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

The defense has said Castille should have recused himself. Fox News, "Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal request continued," 30 Aug. 2018 The five had initially recused themselves because three had family members who work for the Police Department, and two were going to move into jobs in the department, Fahey said. Michael Levenson,, "Raises for Methuen officers are astronomical — and a surprise for the city," 25 June 2018 An open question is whether McCabe should have recused himself from the investigation earlier. Laura Jarrett, CNN, "What to know about the IG report on the Clinton e-mail investigation," 14 June 2018 Bowen's attorneys argued that Bowen's bail should be reduced, given bond guidelines, and that Kimberley, like other Etowah County judges, should recuse himself from the case. William Thornton,, "Acton Bowen 'a danger to every child in this community,' DA says," 24 Apr. 2018 And because McNeil is dating Skirvin's son, some community members believe Skirvin should have recused herself from the vote. Samantha Swindler,, "Clatskanie cancels school board meeting over 'perceived threats'," 9 Apr. 2018 White House spokesman Raj Shah said Hicks had recused herself from some matters surrounding the Porter controversy. Megan Friedman, Cosmopolitan, "14 Things to Know About Hope Hicks, President Trump's Communications Director," 9 Feb. 2018 First, by refusing to recuse himself in the face of mandatory disqualifying conflicts of interest. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump suspends US-South Korea war games; Public pays final respects to McCain," 30 Aug. 2018 The president has for months been harshly critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for having recused himself in the Russia investigation. Anchorage Daily News, "Raid on Trump’s lawyer sought records of payments to women," 10 Apr. 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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Statistics for recuse

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for recuse

The first known use of recuse was in 1829

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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

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to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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