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

Thompson mentions how the Arkansas State Bar had refused to consider complaints against former President Bill Clinton until a writ of mandamus from the state's Supreme Court forced action that led to Clinton's disbarment in Arkansas. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Video game activist who watched 'Making a Murderer' seeks to free Steven Avery — through 'the ancient writ of mandamus'," 10 July 2018 The president has repeatedly refused to accept funding for his border wall because it wasn’t paired with steep reductions to legal immigration — which only 38 Senate Republicans support. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Renews Call for Deporting Refugees Without Due Process," 5 July 2018 The first disappointment for liberals came in Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the tiff over whether Jack Phillips, a Christian baker, had the right to refuse to bake a cake celebrating the nuptials of two men. The Economist, "Justice Kennedy is retiring. What happens now?," 30 June 2018 Gabi has been weighing up his options and the offer to join Xavi in Qatar could be too good to refuse. SI.com, "Report Claims Atletico Madrid Captain Gabi on Verge of Joining Xavi at Qatar Side Al-Sadd," 28 June 2018 Arizona is one of six states that permit pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on moral or religious grounds without requiring a referral or transfer of the prescription, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Melissa Daniels, The Seattle Times, "Pharmacist denies woman miscarriage drug on moral grounds," 26 June 2018 Glamour has reached out to CVS and Rite-Aid pharmacies to inquire about corporate policies surrounding a pharmacist's right to refuse customer prescriptions. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "A Walgreens Pharmacist Refused to Fill a Woman's Prescription to Induce Miscarriage. And It Was Legal.," 25 June 2018 But Holliday’s philosophy is to refuse to play along at all. Ashley C. Ford, SELF, "Tess Holliday’s Health Is None of Your Business," 25 June 2018 In other cases, the assessor has refused to lower assessments on commercial property owned by landlord who have turned off potential tenants by not taking care of their buildings, Shaer notes. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "Time to yank Trump’s wretched name off his tower—or make him pay more taxes," 25 June 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

Phrases Related to refuse

too good to refuse

Statistics for refuse

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

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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Comments on refuse

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