refuse

verb
re·​fuse | \ ri-ˈfyüz \
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, -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, -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 Stimperts received a $48,000 bill for three infusions, which their insurance company refused to pay. Erin Quinn-kong, Good Housekeeping, "Their Son Tested Positive for Strep Throat. Then Came the Severe OCD, Anxiety, and Hallucinations.," 2 Jan. 2019 Barring a brief visit to American troops overseas, he’s spent the week actively spinning up other baseless assertions about border security on Twitter and criticizing congressional Democrats who have refused to meet his $5-billion ask. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "Trump threatens to shut down the border for the third time in three months," 29 Dec. 2018 But Mell blamed reluctant witnesses who refused to cooperate with an investigator and Collins’ alleged inaction for undermining the criminal case against McDaniels. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Second woman sues former Federal Way basketball star Jalen McDaniels over exploitative videos," 19 Dec. 2018 And yet there are, dappled among the many celebrities who refuse to log off, a small number who shine like a beacon in the darkness. Casey Newton, The Verge, "22 predictions for social media in 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 There’s also a villainous, unrepentant district attorney who refuses to be interviewed. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Is the True-Crime Fever Breaking? Watching Netflix’s John Grisham Documentary The Innocent Man," 14 Dec. 2018 The stories of our Women of the Year Awards honorees often start with the same idea: a woman who refuses to wait for someone else to make things better. Glamour, "Follow Glamour's 2018 Women of the Year Awards Live," 12 Nov. 2018 And, making matters even more complicated, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary Eric Phillips tweeted that there were 19 sick passengers, 10 of which were hospitalized and nine who purportedly refused treatment. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Vanilla Ice and 500+ Other People Were Trapped on a Quarantined Plane Yesterday," 6 Sep. 2018 Andrew Jackson, group spokesman for the skeptical physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, is refusing to accept the results of the two independent groups' analyses. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "No more doubts: Two independent studies confirm LIGO’s Nobel discovery," 16 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Litter — cans and bottles, bags and food containers, dirty diapers and all manner of refuse — long has been a problem at boat ramps. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Boat ramps a gateway to fun or frustration," 28 June 2018 The Town of Enfield Public Works Department offers residents the option of scheduling a bulky waste collection for items too large for regular weekly refuse collection (exceeding 60 pounds in weight or greater than 5 feet across). Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 19 June 2018 At the end of your stay, double bag refuse and take it to the town dump, which is an easy 20-mile ride from the house on a former logging road. Joyce Wadler, New York Times, "Have a Relaxed Airbnb Visit — but Not Too Relaxed," 7 June 2018 Residents can put up to 60 pounds of refuse in the container, according to the ordinance. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Aberdeen council adopts new trash pickup ordinance," 12 July 2018 This Is My Land) lives a solitary life in the Scottish wilderness, scavenging for food and constructing items from industrial refuse. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Chicagoans / Comedy / Film / LGBTQ+ / Music / On Video Chicago Underground Film Festival at 25: A look back," 4 June 2018 Incessant action necessitates clean baseball, something the A's refuse to play. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros use late offensive push to knock off Athletics," 29 Apr. 2018 The highest score was 4.73 for the refuse transfer station. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "5 things taxpayers should know about a recommendation that $60 million is needed to upgrade West Allis city buildings," 28 June 2018 Kim uses chickpea rather than wheat flour—a nod to Ligurian farinata—which makes the pancake refuse to rise and gives it a dry, grainy mouthfeel. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Andersonville’s Passerotto is a tale of two peninsulas," 21 June 2018

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

8 Jan 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)

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

refuse

verb
re·​fuse | \ ri-ˈfyüz \
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 \

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

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