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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Trump has backed Tuberville and friction remains between the president and his former attorney general over a decision by Sessions in 2017 to recuse himself from the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. al, "Jeff Sessions: Ban chokeholds, but keep qualified immunity for police," 19 June 2020 Warren said Brooks, who also worked at OneWest, should recuse himself from all future rule-making. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Jacksonville being considered for Republican convention," 11 June 2020 In that case, the Alabama Supreme Court ordered Montgomery County Circuit Judge Greg Griffin to recuse from the murder case of Officer A.C. Smith (no relation) because of comments made during a public court hearing. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Alabama woman who says she killed rapist in self-defense wants judge removed from murder case," 16 June 2020 Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking a federal bank regulator to undo his predecessor's update to anti-redlining regulations and to recuse himself from all future changes to them, reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Jacksonville being considered for Republican convention," 11 June 2020 The survey said 48% believe that Sessions had to recuse himself. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "'Underdog' Jeff Sessions surges in campaign poll, and 7 in 10 ignore Trump endorsement of foe," 9 June 2020 Court documents filed in Glynn County show that Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley was appointed to the case after all five judges in the legal circuit where Arbery was killed recused themselves. Time, "2017 Video Shows Georgia Officer Tried to Tase Ahmaud Arbery," 19 May 2020 Durden is the third prosecutor to oversee the case after two others recused themselves due to their connections to the suspects. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Video appears to show Ahmaud Arbery at construction site before shooting, family lawyer says," 10 May 2020 Stewart, elected to a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court bench in 2019, recused herself from considering the appeal. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Ohio Supreme Court overturns appeals court, reinstates Parma arsonists’ guilty pleas," 14 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about recuse

Time Traveler for recuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of recuse was in 1829

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about recuse

Statistics for recuse

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on recuse

What made you want to look up recuse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!