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 Prisoners of the Castro regime spend decades behind bars but refuse to give in. Alvaro Vargas Llosa, National Review, "The ‘Plantados,’ Cuba’s Immovable Heroes," 2 May 2021 Democrats, unswayed, have threatened to use an arcane budget maneuver known as reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill with only Democratic votes if Republicans refuse to substantially increase their offer. New York Times, "Biden’s Expansive Infrastructure Plan Hits Close to Home for McConnell," 1 May 2021 Participants can then take photos of their work and refuse collected, weigh bags, and visit cityofsoutheuclid.com to see how to post photos, report their haul, and win prizes. cleveland, "South Euclid Council passes resolution opposing proposed state bill that could have cities paying income tax refunds," 1 May 2021 Pope was charged with harassment and throwing refuse onto a roadway. Andrews Mcmeel Syndication, Star Tribune, "Coffins turn dying into an art form," 30 Apr. 2021 Unfortunately, there are still too many people who are either reluctant to get the vaccine or will downright refuse it. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: More teams should join Milwaukee Bucks in turning games into vaccination drives," 28 Apr. 2021 But the pandemic is guaranteed to expose leaders who undermine truth, create alternative realities, ostracize experts and scientists and refuse to take precautions to keep the public safe. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Covid-19 exposed populist leaders like Modi and Trump," 26 Apr. 2021 Utah lawmakers are planning to study whether the state can ignore or refuse to enforce new federal laws to restrict firearms. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah Politics podcast: Can Utah ignore new federal gun laws?," 23 Apr. 2021 And one of the biggest concerns if large numbers of men refuse to get vaccinated is that the country might not reach herd immunity, which is when enough people have been inoculated against a virus to prevent community spread of it. refinery29.com, "Fellas, Is It Gay To Be Immune From A Deadly Virus?," 23 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Finally, keep an eye out for bags of leaves foolish people put on the curb for the refuse folks. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Take these steps now in your yard so you’re ready for planting time," 29 Apr. 2021 Firefighters requested city equipment, including a dump truck and a loader, to remove refuse from the back of the trash truck, Battalion Chief David Pilkerton said. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Trash truck fire prompts evacuation of dealership in Grantville," 28 Mar. 2021 There is not a speck of refuse, not a piece of paper, not a thrown away plastic bottle. Richard Quest And Joe Minihane, CNN, "The gleaming city that emerged from turmoil in the heart of Africa," 13 Apr. 2021 The Aberdeen City Council voted to outsource its municipal refuse collection to GFL, a private waste management company, after months of consideration, public comment and back-and-forth. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen city council narrowly votes to outsource trash collection to GFL after months of debate," 13 Apr. 2021 Because the issue of refuse collection in the city is a hot topic, the city attorney advised Mayor Patrick McGrady to wait for the whole council to be present for the vote. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, "Decision to outsource Aberdeen trash collection delayed after city council member exposed to coronavirus," 23 Mar. 2021 Yet the take-no-prisoners, refuse-to-lose, get-out-of-our-way mentality, no matter the opponent, was evident. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Utah State 57, SDSU 45: The loss that saved the Aztecs’ season," 17 Mar. 2021 The court heard that her body was found in a builder's refuse bag, and identified using dental records.. Ben Makori And William James, The Christian Science Monitor, "London police criticized over handling of women's safety vigil," 14 Mar. 2021 The latest international battle is centered on seabed mining, which is the fledgling practice of stripping the bottom of the ocean for minerals and dumping the refuse back into the water. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "Climate Point: We made it back to Mars, but your earthly home might be in flood zone," 26 Feb. 2021

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

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refuse. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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)

Comments on refuse

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