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

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 Some schools, including Kensington Primary, explicitly state that dreadlocks are not allowed, and other schools have banned students who refuse to cut them. Kate Chappell, Washington Post, "Jamaica’s high court rules school can ban dreadlocks," 31 July 2020 Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said federal aid should go to families, not schools, if districts refuse to open this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'Give it to the families': DeVos recommends shifting funds from schools that stay closed to parents," 12 July 2020 When Cortez and the nurses make their daily visits to those in quarantine, some people curse them or refuse to cooperate. National Geographic, "How a single doctor fights to keep COVID-19 from reaching his rural town," 9 July 2020 In the Obama years, the court heard two cases on whether religious groups could refuse to comply with regulations requiring contraceptive coverage. Adam Liptak, BostonGlobe.com, "Supreme Court lets employers opt out of birth control coverage," 8 July 2020 In the pandemic, that has meant a rush to reopen states prematurely, then punishing workers who refuse to return to their jobs in order to follow public health guidelines. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "The Impossible Math of the Pandemic," 7 July 2020 Shepler is also asking customers to wear face masks, which has caused friction for some who simply refuse. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "Let me be straight with you: Wear a darn mask," 5 July 2020 Bryan Alexander Delta flight delayed after passengers refuse to wear a face mask After two travelers refused to wear face masks, a Delta flight headed to Atlanta from Detroit Metro Airport on Thursday had to turn around and head back to the gate. Jessica Flores, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus updates: Birx warns rural US; GOP Michigan lawmaker opposed to Whitmer's restrictions has COVID; stimulus negotiations resume," 3 Aug. 2020 The recommendations from health officials have remained the same for months -- yet despite a continuing climb in coronavirus cases, some Americans are still opting to attend large social gatherings, and refuse to wear face coverings. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "No one is immune to coronavirus, expert says, with infections rising in both rural and urban communities," 3 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Can a business refuse service to someone who won’t wear a mask? Hannah K. Sparling, The Enquirer, "COVID-19: Here's how Cincinnati's mask mandate will be enforced," 8 July 2020 Do not forget about requiring refuse containers and specifying where they will be placed on your property. Dallas News, "Amateur hour: Tips for avoiding a common elder fraud," 14 June 2020 Members of City Council, though, recently raised the need for the pickup to resume, warning that piles of refuse were starting to crop up in their wards. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland to lease new trucks that will allow pickup of bulk refuse items without coronavirus fears," 4 June 2020 In 1987, a garbage barge, carrying 3,200 tons of refuse, left Islip, N.Y., on a six-month journey in search of a place to unload. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 22 Mar. 2020 Often made from refuse — oil jugs or bamboo sticks lashed together — curtains of netting dangle beneath them with a reach that can be more than 300 feet deep. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, "These mysterious 'devices' keep washing up on Florida’s beaches. Scientists are concerned.," 28 Feb. 2020 What makes the job even more difficult is that the refuse isn’t in the same form as when it was first thrown into a trash can or dumpster. Jon Lender, courant.com, "Michelle Troconis returns with police to Farmington home two weeks into search for Jennifer Farber Dulos," 7 June 2019 Handling warm crap through a veneer of plastic is disgusting, but seeing the refuse of dozens of dogs melting out of the snow is worse. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "Your Trail Dog Sucks (Mine Does, Too)," 18 Mar. 2020 The refuse contains heavy metals and other contaminates that can leach into groundwater. USA TODAY, "In vitro cheetahs, Devils Tower, ‘SMART Marina’: News from around our 50 states," 26 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for refuse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for refuse

Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Refuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refuse. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for refuse

refuse

verb
How to pronounce refuse (audio)

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
How to pronounce refuse (audio)

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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Comments on refuse

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