1

refuse

verb re·fuse \ ri-ˈfyüz \

Definition of refuse

refused; refusing
transitive verb
1 :to express oneself as unwilling to accept
  • refuse a gift
  • refuse a promotion
2 a :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

refuser

noun

Examples of refuse in a Sentence

  1. When they offered me the money, I couldn't refuse.

  2. They asked her to help but she refused.

Recent Examples of refuse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of refuse

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

Synonym Discussion of refuse

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

2

refuse

noun ref·use \ ˈre-ˌfyüs , -ˌfyüz \

Definition of refuse

1 :the worthless or useless part of something :leavings

Examples of refuse in a Sentence

  1. refuse had littered the playground until our volunteer group cleaned it up

Recent Examples of refuse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of refuse

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from refuser


3

refuse

adjective ref·use \ ˈre-ˌfyüs , -ˌfyüz \

Definition of refuse

:thrown aside or left as worthless

First Known Use of refuse

15th century



REFUSE Defined for English Language Learners

refuse

verb

Definition of refuse for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of refuse for English Language Learners

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


REFUSE Defined for Kids

1

refuse

verb re·fuse \ ri-ˈfyüz \

Definition of refuse for Students

refused; refusing
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.

2

refuse

noun ref·use \ ˈre-ˌfyüs \

Definition of refuse for Students



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