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 secretary of State’s comments marked a small departure from the Trump administration’s refusal to call into question any of Israel’s actions, however provocative. Tracy Wilkinson Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "U.S. steps up response to Israeli-Palestinian conflict after slow start," 12 May 2021 Orlando City minority owner Albert Friedberg — who held right to first refusal on majority sales — previously sold his stake back to Augusto da Silva according to the Sportico report, removing a potential hurdle for the sale. Julia Poe,, "Orlando City owner Flávio Augusto da Silva sells club, stadium to Minnesota Vikings owners," 12 May 2021 In the eyes of the GOP, Cheney's mortal sin is her temerity in stating the truth about Trump's 2020 election loss and refusal to absolve the former president of his role in inciting the insurrection of January 6th. Charlie Dent, CNN, "Trump is the root of why GOP will sacrifice Cheney for Stefanik," 10 May 2021 Judge Kaplan later brought charges of criminal contempt after Mr. Donziger’s continued refusal to follow the directives. Rebecca Davis O’brien, WSJ, "Trial Begins for Lawyer Who Sued Chevron Over Ecuador Pollution," 10 May 2021 The flashy headline is that a top member of House GOP leadership is almost certain to lose her post because of insufficient fealty to former President Donald Trump and refusal to indulge in his lies about the election. Rick Klein, ABC News, "Trump's sway still matters bigly for Biden agenda: The Note," 10 May 2021 Critics have charged that the state government’s slow response and monthslong refusal to permit needle exchanges only made the crisis worse. Lev Facher, STAT, "Years ago, a syringe exchange helped end a devastating HIV outbreak. Now it might be forced to close," 9 May 2021 The Nets were fined $35,000 and Kyrie Irving was fined the same amount for the guard’s refusal to speak with the media., "Chemistry biggest issue for James Harden and Brooklyn Nets heading into postseason," 8 May 2021 But there has been some refusal in conservative strongholds to let go of the Confederacy and its history. Washington Post, "Get rid of Confederate rock or risk custody of multiracial daughter, court tells woman," 7 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for refusal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for refusal

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refusal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on refusal

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