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

Europe at one time refused to import U.S. beef from animals implanted with a hormone to promote growth. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Time to explain the basics of trade," 15 Sep. 2019 Davis refused standard field sobriety tests, and a warrant was served to obtain a blood sample, according to the court documents. Chelsea Curtis, USA TODAY, "10-year-old girl films mom driving drunk, police say," 10 Sep. 2019 In Tony Kushner’s play turned HBO mini-series, Angels in America, some doctors refused to work with dying AIDS patients, leaving them in dirty beds to be cared for by anyone brave enough to enter the ward. Joelle Monique, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'It: Chapter Two' Leaves Richie Tozier Behind," 7 Sep. 2019 And spoken or not, both Starice and Antonia refuse to feel vengeful. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'It was just us four': An Indianapolis mom prepares to bury her two teenagers," 5 Sep. 2019 Hell, even Californians, who’ve been carrying the nation’s environmental flag for decades, refuse to give up coastal land. Wired, "Retreat? Pish. Democrats Dare Not Speak Climate Change's ‘R’ Word," 5 Sep. 2019 While vaccines currently prevent 2 to 3 million deaths a year globally, a subset of the U.S. population still refuses to vaccinate their children. Janie Oyakawa As Told To Korin Miller, SELF, "I Used to Be An Anti-Vaxxer. Here’s What Changed My Mind.," 26 Aug. 2019 But Sayers’ mother, Lisa, refuses to give up hope that her daughter is alive. Nicole Brodeur, The Seattle Times, "A year after officials called off search for hiker Sam Sayers, her mother is still looking," 23 Aug. 2019 In the meantime, O’Rourke refuses to back down, continuing to tweet out on the issue and demanding stronger action. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "'This Is A Death Threat': Beto O'Rourke Calls Out Texas Congressman's AR-15 Tweet," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The owners of the adjacent farm sued Yasgur for $35,000, charging that large numbers of concertgoers used their property as a site of shelter and defecation and left their property strewn with refuse. Ray Cavanaugh, Time, "Max Yasgur Rented Out His Farm for Woodstock. His Neighbors Sued Him," 14 Aug. 2019 According to court documents, two city workers driving a large refuse hauler failed to see two cars at a dead stop near the end of the on-ramp — a pick-up truck and Michael DiSenso’s jeep. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego paying out $3M to man injured in crash with city trash truck," 23 July 2019 Worst of all, most of these items are actually designed to be disposable, destined to fester atop a repulsive mountain of refuse. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Can Big Beauty Go Green? One Writer Tries to Save the Planet (and Have Her Powder Too)," 29 Aug. 2019 At the base was an overturned tricycle and, at the top, a few empty Corona bottles, but otherwise the area was free of refuse. Rachel Poser, Harper's magazine, "Common Ground," 19 Aug. 2019 Barnett said the end result could have been a termination of city pickup, with residents forced to contract for refuse collection on their own. Brian Lisik, cleveland.com, "Brunswick curbside recycling program working through bumps in the road," 13 Aug. 2019 The bear seemed to have been attracted to the scent of refuse. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Bear Escapes House With a Dramatic Exit That Would Make the Kool-Aid Man Proud," 12 Aug. 2019 Nevertheless, researchers continue to try to make sense of child ridership data like confused diners attempting to sort their refuse at Whole Foods. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Why You Should Care That Fewer Kids Are Riding Bikes," 25 July 2019 However, the Mirror also acknowledges that United 'refuse to give up' and that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is 'pushing hard'. SI.com, "Man City Close to World-Record Deal for Harry Maguire, Yet Man Utd Still 'Confident'," 24 June 2019

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

1 Oct 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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