re·​fus·​al | \ ri-ˈfyü-zəl How to pronounce refusal (audio) \

Definition of refusal

1 : the act of refusing or denying
2 : the opportunity or right of refusing or taking before others

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Examples of refusal in a Sentence

My request for more money was met with a flat refusal. his flat refusal of our reasonable request was rather startling

Recent Examples on the Web

Tsai cited comments Sunday by China’s defense minister at a forum in Singapore defending the army’s bloody assault on protesters and Beijing citizens, as well as Hong Kong’s refusal to allow entry to former student leader Feng Congde. Washington Post, "The Latest: Hong Kong activists mark Tiananmen anniversary," 5 June 2019 The holdup had been in the Senate over Trump’s refusal to consider additional money to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed an estimated 3,000 people in 2017. Tal Kopan,, "House sends long-stalled California wildfire relief to Trump," 3 June 2019 Democrats were similarly alarmed by the Senate GOP’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. NBC News, "Inside Pete Buttigieg's plan to overhaul the Supreme Court," 3 June 2019 Advertising Despite Mueller’s refusal to exonerate Trump, his spokesmen and leading congressional Republicans all claimed total vindication for the president anyway. Mary Clare Jalonick, The Seattle Times, "Democrats ask for Mueller files; GOP exclaims ‘Move on’," 25 Mar. 2019 From Oscar’s love of trash and smelly socks to Ernie’s refusal to part with his beloved rubber duckie for anything in the world, characters are unabashedly themselves. Michael Taube, WSJ, "Sesame Is a Two-Way Street," 10 Feb. 2019 But Pokémon’s refusal to mature means that part of the fandom has grown obsessed with what darker pocket monsters could look like. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The internet’s horrified with Detective Pikachu," 12 Nov. 2018 The couple had briefly broken off their engagement in May, with sources telling PEOPLE that Bella couldn’t get past Cena’s refusal to have kids. Jessica Fecteau,, "John Cena Wants to Reverse His Vasectomy to Have Kids: How Effective and Risky Is the Procedure?," 20 June 2018 That ended Wednesday, and given the result, Hood’s 15-point performance stands as a somewhat ignominious symbol of Cleveland’s refusal to dust him off much sooner. Jeremy Woo,, "Kevin Durant Puts on an Absolute Show in Game 3 to Put Cavs on Brink of Elimination," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refusal.' 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 refusal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for refusal

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for refusal

The first known use of refusal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for refusal



English Language Learners Definition of refusal

: an act of saying or showing that you will not do, give, or accept something : an act of refusing


re·​fus·​al | \ ri-ˈfyü-zəl How to pronounce refusal (audio) \

Kids Definition of refusal

: the act of showing unwillingness to do, give, or allow something a refusal to answer questions

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More from Merriam-Webster on refusal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with refusal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refusal

Spanish Central: Translation of refusal

Nglish: Translation of refusal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refusal for Arabic Speakers

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