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 recuse (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 Beaudreau has signed an ethics agreement pledging to recuse himself from matters relating to his former clients for two years, as required by law. Author: Joshua Partlow, Juliet Eilperin, Anchorage Daily News, 18 May 2021 Beaudreau has signed an ethics agreement pledging to recuse himself from matters relating to his former clients for two years, as required by law. Washington Post, 18 May 2021 That is no longer an excuse to recuse yourself from the responsibility that the ancestors tasked you with, Black people. Tamika D. Mallory, Essence, 13 May 2021 Womble did not immediately respond to inquiries for comment Tuesday night about calls to recuse himself. NBC News, 11 May 2021 The candidates have to walk a tightrope when discussing the Trump investigation because any comment or public commitment to prosecute the case could call into question their ability to fairly handle it, or even force the office to recuse itself. Deanna Paul, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2021 Cyber Ninjas also prompted Coury to recuse himself from the case by adding an attorney to its team who previously worked as Coury's intern. Bob Christie, Star Tribune, 26 Apr. 2021 Barrett heard the case Monday and did not offer any public statement on her decision to do so, and the Supreme Court has not yet responded to a request for comment on Barrett’s decision not to recuse. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2021 The issues between the state and Todd began in January of 2018 when, according to the court’s ruling, the Court of Criminal Appeals directed Todd to recuse herself from McMullin’s death-penalty case. Carol Robinson |, al, 9 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

27 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Recuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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