re·​nounce | \ri-ˈnau̇n(t)s \
renounced; renouncing

Definition of renounce 

transitive verb

1 : to give up, refuse, or resign usually by formal declaration renounce his errors

2 : to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further : repudiate renounce the authority of the church

intransitive verb

1 : to make a renunciation

2 : to fail to follow suit in a card game

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from renounce

renouncement \ ri-​ˈnau̇n(t)s-​mənt \ noun
renouncer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for renounce


abjure, forswear (also foreswear), recant, renege, repeal, repudiate, retract, take back, unsay, withdraw


adhere (to)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for renounce

abdicate, renounce, resign mean to give up a position with no possibility of resuming it. abdicate implies a giving up of sovereign power or sometimes an evading of responsibility such as that of a parent. abdicated the throne renounce may replace it but often implies additionally a sacrifice for a greater end. renounced her inheritance by marrying a commoner resign applies to the giving up of an unexpired office or trust. resigned from the board

abjure, renounce, forswear, recant, retract mean to withdraw one's word or professed belief. abjure implies a firm and final rejecting or abandoning often made under oath. abjured the errors of his former faith renounce may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown. renounced abstract art and turned to portrait painting forswear may add an implication of perjury or betrayal. I cannot forswear my principles recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught. if they recant they will be spared retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation. the newspaper had to retract the story

Examples of renounce in a Sentence

Many of his former supporters have renounced him. He renounced his old way of life.

Recent Examples on the Web

The renditions happened at the height of the US-led ‘‘war on terror,’’ and at a time when Britain was trying to improve relations with Khadafy, a former international pariah who had recently renounced weapons of mass destruction. Jill Lawless,, "UK apologizes for role in Libyans’ kidnapping and torture," 10 May 2018 In 1998, Eldridge Cleaver, the fiery Black Panther leader who later renounced his past and became a Republican, died in Pomona, California, at age 62. azcentral, "AZ Memo: Day 4 of the #RedForEd walkout; Phoenix call center may have underpaid workers; Tinder Fire evacuees watch and wait," 1 May 2018 He was believed to have been a solider in the Roman army who was tortured for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. Erin Hill,, "Happy St. George's Day! Why Today Has Special Meaning for the Royal Baby's Birth," 23 Apr. 2018 With apartheid crumbling, its white rulers were eager to renounce illicit weapons. The Economist, "North Korea presents nuclear disarmament’s biggest challenge yet," 5 July 2018 The program, which has since been renounced by the C.I.A., included techniques like waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinements in boxes and other interrogation techniques. New York Times, "Gina Haspel Offered to Withdraw C.I.A. Nomination Amid Concerns Over Role in Torture Program," 6 May 2018 In the Philippines, the church has sheltered fugitives since the Spanish colonial era, including the country’s first saint, Lorenzo Ruiz, who was executed by the Japanese in the 17th century for refusing to renounce his faith. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Catholic Church Opens Sanctuaries to the Hunted in Philippines Drug War," 5 July 2018 In their only heart-to-heart as a couple, Nick tries to convince Eden to renounce her actions., "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 12: Gilead's Romeo & Juliet," 4 July 2018 Expect them to renounce their rights to center Alex Len and point guard Elfrid Payton, making them both free agents. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Suns to target point guard, stretch four in free agency," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'renounce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of renounce

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for renounce

Middle English, from Anglo-French renuncer, from Latin renuntiare, from re- + nuntiare to report, from nuntius messenger

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about renounce

Statistics for renounce

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for renounce

The first known use of renounce was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for renounce



English Language Learners Definition of renounce

: to say especially in a formal or official way that you will no longer have or accept (something) : to formally give up (something)

: to say in a formal or definite way that you refuse to follow, obey, or support (someone or something) any longer


re·​nounce | \ri-ˈnau̇ns \
renounced; renouncing

Kids Definition of renounce

1 : to give up, abandon, or resign usually by a public declaration The queen renounced the throne.

2 : to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any longer They renounced the goals of the organization.


re·​nounce | \ri-ˈnau̇ns \
renounced; renouncing

Legal Definition of renounce 

transitive verb

1 : to announce one's abandonment or giving up of a right to or interest in : disclaim sense 1 renounce an inheritance

2 : to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further renounce allegiance to one's country

intransitive verb

: to make a renunciation

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on renounce

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for renounce

Spanish Central: Translation of renounce

Nglish: Translation of renounce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of renounce for Arabic Speakers

Comments on renounce

What made you want to look up renounce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!