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 The near-blanket Republican refusal to challenge the president troubles one of their former colleagues. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "What the Impeachment Vote Says About the Trump Inquiry’s Future," 31 Oct. 2019 Mayor David Vann’s refusal to call for the firing of Sands launched demonstrations in the city. al, "'We are all part of her legacy’: Bonita Carter honored with new memorial sign in Birmingham," 24 Oct. 2019 America’s refusal to keep the peace between Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga and the Iraqi military after the 2017 independence referendum continues to resonate in the region as well. Morgan L. Kaplan, Twin Cities, "Morgan L. Kaplan: Trump’s Syria announcement is a change of speed, not a change of direction," 10 Oct. 2019 However, the Trump administration’s initial refusal to release to Congress documents concerning the intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint about the administration’s treatment of Ukraine encouraged the Speaker to cross that line. Eric Schickler, The Conversation, "Investigations usually hurt a president’s public reputation – but Trump isn’t usual," 8 Oct. 2019 Only the refusal of his former defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, to join a new coalition prevented Netanyahu from being sworn in for a fifth term in office. Oren Liebermann, CNN, "Israelis return to polls to decide Netanyahu's fate," 17 Sep. 2019 Its myriad conflicts of interest, defiance of subpoenas and court orders, refusal to release the president’s tax returns, the hiring of Trump’s children, assaults on the media, and lack of media access (to name just a few) all raise alarming flags. Shira Lurie, Quartz, "Will Trump concede if he loses in 2020?," 17 Sep. 2019 Her refusal to treat cosmetic surgery and non-surgical interventions as a shameful secret, one that must be concealed to maintain the myth of the naturally flawless celebrity. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Chrissy Teigen Just Got Armpit Botox to Reduce Sweating: "Best Move I Have Ever Made"," 14 Aug. 2019 The refusal to countermand organizations like the National Rifle Association that roadblock efforts to address common-sense gun laws. John D'anna, azcentral, "Spiritual leader of Arizona Methodists calls flock to action on gun violence, racism," 7 Aug. 2019

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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for refusal

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

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More Definitions for refusal


How to pronounce refusal (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refusal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with refusal

Spanish Central: Translation of refusal

Nglish: Translation of refusal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refusal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refusal

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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