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

Ogg recused her office because one of her top lieutenants had been connected to the case before joining the administration. Brian Rogers, Houston Chronicle, "Houston father accused in honor killings begins death penalty trial," 24 June 2018 Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe in March 2017. Paula Reid, CBS News, "White House refuses to say why Trump hasn't fired Sessions despite criticism," 30 May 2018 Kirsch has recused himself from Snyder’s case, according to court documents, and the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois has overseen and managed local prosecutors handling the case. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "U.S. attorney testifies about indicted Portage mayor's emails," 30 May 2018 Five Etowah County judges then recused themselves from the case. Carol Robinson,, "2 more sodomy charges filed against evangelist Acton Bowen," 27 Apr. 2018 Mysteriously, just days after taking Flynn’s plea, Judge Contreras recused himself from the case. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "The Curious Michael Flynn Guilty Plea," 13 Feb. 2018 Sunil recused himself from our board meetings when any extension of the agreement with U.S. Soccer was discussed or voted on. Grant Wahl,, "Soccer United Marketing Fact/Fiction: Garber Opens Up on SUM's Role in U.S. Soccer, MLS," 25 Jan. 2018 The fact that Rosenstein has not recused and the IG just reached the same conclusion on Comey’s misconduct would suggest that the obstruction investigation has not focused on the Comey firing. Michael Smerconish,, "After titillating IG report, Rod Rosenstein faces a major conflict | Michael Smerconish," 20 June 2018 Following a request by AP, EPA provided a copy of an April 20 memo Cook signed recusing himself from participating in regulatory matters involving LyondellBasell. CBS News, "Steven D. Cook, ex-chemical industry lawyer, to lead Superfund task force at EPA," 1 June 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

10 Oct 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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