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

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 Idiocy should not be confused with stupidity, the willful refusal of information that might disrupt one’s rigid convictions. Wired, 28 July 2022 Another culprit is the refusal by the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats to disavow tax increases or costly regulations. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 28 July 2022 This sudden, stubborn refusal of including draft capital to get rid of the worst contract for the upcoming season is foolish — especially for an organization that has always built its teams through free agency and trades. Dj Siddiqi, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Draghi and his government won a confidence vote, 172-39, in the Senate despite the refusal by the 5-Star Movement to back the bill, which earmarked $26 billion to help consumers and industries struggling with soaring energy prices. Mark Heim |, al, 14 July 2022 The drastic scaling back has been driven by the party’s razor-thin majorities and the refusal of Mr. Manchin to embrace some of his colleagues’ most costly plans. New York Times, 14 July 2022 Obergefell successfully appealed the state’s refusal to list him on the death certificate to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 14 July 2022 This is a troubling response that arises from the refusal of society to support laws that help Black people’s safety. Maya Wiley, The New Republic, 8 July 2022 The refusal of Russia, China and the United States to accept the court’s jurisdiction hasn’t helped — effectively creating an international legal system that lets the most powerful countries off the hook. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 30 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of refusal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for refusal

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

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Refusal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for refusal


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

More from Merriam-Webster on refusal

Nglish: Translation of refusal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refusal for Arabic Speakers


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