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 The families of residents were given a week over the December holidays to approve or refuse, a decision that had to be unanimous from immediate family members. Fox News, "French vaccine rollout slowed by red tape, focus on elderly," 10 Jan. 2021 The commander might refuse such an order, but then what? Robert Burns, ajc, "Pelosi's talk of limits on Trump nuke power raises old worry," 9 Jan. 2021 In many cases, the victims refuse that extortion, and the cybercriminals follow through on their threat. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Anti-Secrecy Activists Publish a Trove of Ransomware Victims' Data," 6 Jan. 2021 The parents refuse to acknowledge that there’s a problem. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "‘Stella’s’ groove brings out the family creep," 1 Jan. 2021 In a pandemic in which precautions have become political, many residents refuse to wear masks. Dave Philipps, BostonGlobe.com, "The small Colorado town shrugged off the pandemic. Then came the coronavirus variant," 31 Dec. 2020 Defiant people refuse to wear facial coverings or social distance based on political affiliations, conspiracy theories, personal beliefs, and misinformation. Jay Baruch, STAT, "As a doctor in the Covid-19 era, I’ve learned that judging patients’ decisions comes easier than it should," 31 Dec. 2020 But Gary’s brother, Gordon Granley, and his wife, Audrey Granley, refuse to wear them almost ever. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Rural Pastors Tend to Flocks Divided and Isolated by Covid-19," 30 Dec. 2020 Global warming was again evidenced by unprecedented wildfires and storms, but many still refuse to accept the science and need for change. Ann Hill, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Commentary: In 2020, our core beliefs as Americans — democracy, science, faith in each other — were questioned," 29 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No refuse sticker will be required during the two weeks. Beacon-news Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Oswego museum displaying ornaments online," 31 Dec. 2020 Republic committed to an order of 2,500 refuse trucks based on the Nikola Tre truck platform, which is planned to use either batteries or, in a version slated for 2023, a liquid hydrogen fuel-cell. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Nikola Motor loses another crucial deal, capping a catastrophic 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 Now the invasive, omnivorous reptiles will nosh on just about anything, laying waste to everything from bugs to bits of human refuse. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Super-Constipated Florida Lizard Breaks Records With Gargantuan Poop," 6 May 2020 Decades of space travel by governments left plenty of refuse, ranging from parts of rocket boosters to stray bits of scientific experiments. Clive Thompson, The New Republic, "Monetizing the Final Frontier," 3 Dec. 2020 In addition, the city’s refuse and recycling contractor Groot Industries agreed to a long-term gas purchase agreement with Trillium, making the project more viable for all parties involved, the release said. chicagotribune.com, "Naperville News Digest," 28 Nov. 2020 The only visible life was goats, pigs and a few people poking through the refuse. Washington Post, "Battered by back-to-back hurricanes, Honduras braces for a long recovery," 26 Nov. 2020 To cover the garbage and recycling cost, Seven Hills residents in 2012 passed a refuse disposal levy that annually brings in $923,360. John Benson, cleveland, "Seven Hills City Council approves one-year option for 2021 trash and recycling pickup," 21 Oct. 2020 And the city’s refuse and recycling contract is for $2.5 million. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Brunswick’s 2021 budget forecasts aggressive road repairs and Rec Center struggles," 3 Nov. 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

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refuse. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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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