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 lead character, played by Roy Scheider, suffers a heart attack during rehearsals for a Broadway show (inspired by Fosse's own experience on Chicago) and refuses to quit smoking or drugs despite his doctors' orders. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the Real Relationship Between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon," 9 Apr. 2019 The House, in particular, will almost certainly take a hard look at the F-15EX controversy and may even refuse to fund it--much to the Air Force’s relief. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Asks for Nearly 380 Aircraft, But One Buy Is Raising Eyebrows," 13 Mar. 2019 Claire's has refused to comply with the FDA's request, and the agency does not have authority to mandate a recall. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "UPDATE: FDA Claims Three Claire's Products Have Tested Positive for Asbestos," 6 Mar. 2019 Sony, which had previously found itself in hot water for refusing to allow cross-play between competing consoles, caved in unprecedented fashion and began allowing PS4 accounts to play Fortnite on other systems. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The year in Fortnite," 18 Dec. 2018 For the last eight years, Google has refused to cooperate with these efforts. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google employees demand that Google stop work on censored Chinese search," 27 Nov. 2018 The doctor refused to answer his questions or talk to law enforcement, Mr. Pourier said. Gabe Johnson, WSJ, "A Pedophile Doctor Drew Suspicions for 21 Years. No One Stopped Him.," 8 Feb. 2019 Even if the tab is open but not visible, ReLive will refuse to work. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "AMD ReLive review: A stylish video capture tool for Radeon graphics cards," 31 Jan. 2019 Transgender people face hate and erasure in almost every part of our lives: 20% of respondents to a 2015 National Transgender Discrimination Survey survey say they had been refused medical care because of bias. Josephine Yurcaba, Teen Vogue, "22 Transgender People Have Been Killed in 2018," 20 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Increased recycling and composting means more refuse gets diverted elsewhere. David Gutman, The Seattle Times, "King County’s landfill has been almost full for two decades. What happens next?," 26 Mar. 2019 Piles of trash, plastic bottles and other unidentifiable refuse can be seen rippling and crashing ashore in video and images posted on social media. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Waves of garbage crash ashore in stunning footage," 15 Aug. 2018 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

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

16 Apr 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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