refuse

verb
re·​fuse | \ ri-ˈfyüz How to pronounce refuse (audio) \
refused; refusing

Definition of refuse

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to express oneself as unwilling to accept refuse a gift refuse a promotion
2a : to show or express unwillingness to do or comply with refused to answer the question
b : to not allow someone to have or do (something) : deny they were refused admittance to the game
3 obsolete : give up, renounce deny thy father and refuse thy name— William Shakespeare
4 of a horse : to decline to jump or leap over

intransitive verb

: to withhold acceptance, compliance, or permission

refuse

noun
ref·​use | \ ˈre-ˌfyüs How to pronounce refuse (audio) , -ˌfyüz\

Definition of refuse (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the worthless or useless part of something : leavings
2 : trash, garbage

refuse

adjective
ref·​use | \ ˈre-ˌfyüs How to pronounce refuse (audio) , -ˌfyüz\

Definition of refuse (Entry 3 of 3)

: thrown aside or left as worthless

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Other Words from refuse

Verb

refuser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for refuse

Verb

decline, refuse, reject, repudiate, spurn mean to turn away by not accepting, receiving, or considering. decline often implies courteous refusal especially of offers or invitations. declined his party's nomination refuse suggests more positiveness or ungraciousness and often implies the denial of something asked for. refused to lend them the money reject implies a peremptory refusal by sending away or discarding. rejected the manuscript as unpublishable repudiate implies a casting off or disowning as untrue, unauthorized, or unworthy of acceptance. teenagers who repudiate the values of their parents spurn stresses contempt or disdain in rejection or repudiation. spurned his overtures of friendship

Examples of refuse in a Sentence

Verb

When they offered me the money, I couldn't refuse. They asked her to help but she refused.

Noun

refuse had littered the playground until our volunteer group cleaned it up
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The hospitals refuse to say who should pay for patients’ emergency care, if not the patients. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: How the hospital lobby derailed legislation to protect you from surprise hospital bills," 2 Aug. 2019 Indonesia is one of fewer than ten countries to refuse to sign the WHO’s convention on regulating tobacco. The Economist, "Indonesia seeks to curb e-cigarettes, but not the normal sort," 1 Aug. 2019 Williamson claims that by refusing to confront pain, people are hurting themselves and exacerbating their anxiety and depression. Caroline Tew, EW.com, "A guide to presidential candidate Marianne Williamson's books, from mild to wild," 1 Aug. 2019 LaFleur wrote in a report that Stapf was intoxicated, belligerent, argumentative, refusing to follow commands and physically resisting arrest. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "2 DeLand officers fired after lying about man ‘resisting arrest'," 1 Aug. 2019 The News first reported Timpa’s death in a 2017 investigation that showed Dallas police refused to say how a man who had called 911 for help ended up dead. Dallas News, "'You're gonna kill me!': Dallas police body cam footage reveals the final minutes of Tony Timpa's life," 30 July 2019 Until now, Tool has been one of the biggest artists to refuse to sell its music digitally. Jon Porter, The Verge, "One of the last remaining music streaming holdouts has relented," 30 July 2019 Warren has replicated Khazei’s challenge in her presidential campaign today, even upping the ante by refusing to do high-dollar fundraisers. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Why isn’t Elizabeth Warren more popular in Massachusetts?," 30 July 2019 But how many times will Mueller refuse to say much at all? NBC News, "Live updates: How many times has Robert Mueller deflected a question?," 25 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nevertheless, researchers continue to try to make sense of child ridership data like confused diners attempting to sort their refuse at Whole Foods. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Why You Should Care That Fewer Kids Are Riding Bikes," 25 July 2019 However, the Mirror also acknowledges that United 'refuse to give up' and that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is 'pushing hard'. SI.com, "Man City Close to World-Record Deal for Harry Maguire, Yet Man Utd Still 'Confident'," 24 June 2019 But private garbage haulers are being charged an additional $15 a ton for the extra expense of having their refuse sent by MIRA to out-of-state landfills, Kirk said. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Regional Hartford trash plant suffers another equipment failure, forcing trash shipments to New York and Pennsylvania," 17 July 2019 Residents whose normal collection day is Thursday will have their refuse collected on Friday, July 5. Other Voices, cleveland.com, "Shaker Heights city offices, municipal court closed July 4, 5: Community Voices," 24 June 2019 Doyinsola Ogunye The organization runs community outreach programs where participants are taught how to recycle their refuse. Shayera Dark, Quartz Africa, "The Lagos entrepreneurs championing recycling as a way of life," 7 June 2019 Japan, which has cultivated just this rubbish acumen, is hoping to cash in on the refuse boom. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Japan wants to become Southeast Asia’s trash manager," 23 June 2019 No substances had been added that would chemically alter the refuse, MIRA officials said. Dave Altimari, courant.com, "State police expect to end weekslong search of Hartford trash plant, which they say hasn’t yielded any key evidence in case of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Farber Dulos," 19 June 2019 Some streets and sidewalks are still strewn with debris, and flies buzz over garbage cans overflowing with refuse. Sarah Meehan, baltimoresun.com, "You asked: Why is there so much litter in Baltimore? We dug into the city's trash problem.," 18 June 2019

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for refuse

Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French refuser, from Vulgar Latin *refusare, perhaps blend of Latin refutare to refute and recusare to demur — more at recuse

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from refuser

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Learn More about refuse

Dictionary Entries near refuse

refurnish

refusable

refusal

refuse

refusenik

refusible

refusion

Statistics for refuse

Last Updated

6 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for refuse

The first known use of refuse was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for refuse

refuse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of refuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to say that you will not accept (something, such as a gift or offer)
: to say or show that you are not willing to do something that someone wants you to do
: to not allow someone to have (something)

refuse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of refuse (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : something (such as paper or food waste) that has been thrown away : trash or garbage

refuse

verb
re·​fuse | \ ri-ˈfyüz How to pronounce refuse (audio) \
refused; refusing

Kids Definition of refuse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to express unwillingness to accept : turn down (something) I refused the job.
2 : to express or show unwillingness to do, give, or allow something They refused to help.

refuse

noun
ref·​use | \ ˈre-ˌfyüs How to pronounce refuse (audio) \

Kids Definition of refuse (Entry 2 of 2)

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More from Merriam-Webster on refuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with refuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refuse

Spanish Central: Translation of refuse

Nglish: Translation of refuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refuse for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about refuse

Comments on refuse

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