re·​peal | \ ri-ˈpēl How to pronounce repeal (audio) \
repealed; repealing; repeals

Definition of repeal

transitive verb

1 : to rescind or annul by authoritative act especially : to revoke or abrogate by legislative enactment
3 obsolete : to summon to return : recall

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Other Words from repeal

repeal noun
repealable \ ri-​ˈpē-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce repealable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for repeal


abandon, abort, call, call off, cancel, cry off, drop, recall, rescind, revoke, scrap, scrub


continue, keep

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Examples of repeal in a Sentence

the company called the furniture store to repeal the order for six new desks in 1933, Congress passed the 21st Amendment which repealed the Prohibition Amendment of 1919, thus making the sale, distribution, and use of alcohol legal once again

Recent Examples on the Web

Trump spent his first year in office trying to repeal the health law and came within one vote in the U.S. Senate of achieving that goal. Phil Galewitz, Washington Post, "Outrageous Or Overblown? HHS Announces Another Round Of ACA Navigator Funding Cuts," 12 July 2018 This includes Massachusetts, although state lawmakers are moving to repeal the 19th-century law. Saurabh Datar,, "How Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation could affect Roe v. Wade," 11 July 2018 After Republicans hit a dead end trying to repeal the Obama health law, the Trump administration has pushed regulatory actions to loosen requirements and try to lower premiums for individuals and small businesses. NBC News, "Trump unveils new health plan; Democrats call it 'junk insurance'," 19 June 2018 The Secretary of State's office reported Friday evening that proponents behind an initiative to repeal a 1995 state law called the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act have gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the November 6, 2018 ballot. Angela Hart, sacbee, "Rent control decision coming to California voters," 16 June 2018 With 80% of the vote counted, 67.6% voted Yes in favor of repealing the constitutional clause, the Eighth Amendment, in a landslide win., "Ireland Votes Yes To Legal Abortion, Reversing Constitutional Clause," 26 May 2018 That would essentially restore the net neutrality rules enacted federally under former President Barack Obama, which were later repealed by the Federal Communications Commission under the watch and guidance of current chairman Ajit Pai. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "California passes strongest net neutrality law in the country," 31 Aug. 2018 With the exception of Medicaid expansion — which Trump and the Republican Congress unsuccessfully tried to repeal — the federal response to the opioid crisis has been bipartisan. Carla K. Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Q&A: Feds tackle opioid epidemic, but is it helping?," 28 Jan. 2019 The Act also repeals the aforementioned Section 336, which, in many words, restricted the FAA from regulating recreational drones apart from a few reasonable rules to keep hobbyists out of trouble. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Are Hobby Drones Dead?," 7 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'repeal.' 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 repeal

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for repeal

Middle English repelen, from Anglo-French repeler, literally, to call back, from re- + apeler to appeal, call

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Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for repeal

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

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English Language Learners Definition of repeal

: to officially make (a law) no longer valid


re·​peal | \ ri-ˈpēl How to pronounce repeal (audio) \
repealed; repealing

Kids Definition of repeal

: to do away with especially by legislative action The law was repealed.
re·​peal | \ ri-ˈpēl How to pronounce repeal (audio) \

Legal Definition of repeal

: to rescind or annul by authoritative act especially : to revoke or abrogate by legislative enactment legislatures repealing statutes in light of a recent Supreme Court decision

Other Words from repeal

repeal noun

History and Etymology for repeal

Anglo-French repeler, from Old French, from re- back + apeler to appeal, call, from Latin appellare to address, entreat, call by name

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More from Merriam-Webster on repeal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with repeal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for repeal

Spanish Central: Translation of repeal

Nglish: Translation of repeal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repeal for Arabic Speakers

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