verb re·pel \ri-ˈpel\

Definition of repel




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to drive back :  repulseb :  to fight against :  resist

  3. 2 :  turn away, reject repelled the insinuation

  4. 3a :  to drive away :  discourage foul words and frowns must not repel a lover — William Shakespeareb :  to be incapable of adhering to, mixing with, taking up, or holdingc :  to force away or apart or tend to do so by mutual action at a distance

  5. 4 :  to cause aversion in :  disgust

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to cause aversion



Examples of repel in a Sentence

  1. a fabric that repels water

  2. Their superior forces repelled the invasion.

  3. Two positive electrical charges repel each other.

  4. Magnets can both repel and attract one another.

Recent Examples of repel from the Web

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

When To Use repel

Since re- can mean not just "again" but also "back", repel means "drive back". Repel has two common adjective forms; thus, a repellent or repulsive odor may drive us into the other room. Its main noun form is repulsion. Magnets exhibit both attraction and repulsion, and the goal of an armed defense is the repulsion of an enemy; but we generally use repulsion to mean "strong dislike". In recent years, repulse has been increasingly used as a synonym for repel ("That guy repulses me").

Origin and Etymology of repel

Middle English repellen, from Middle French repeller, from Latin repellere, from re- + pellere to drive — more at felt

REPEL Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of repel for English Language Learners

  • : to keep (something) out or away

  • : to force (an enemy, attacker, etc.) to stop an attack and turn away

  • physics : to force (something) to move away or apart

REPEL Defined for Kids


verb re·pel \ri-ˈpel\

Definition of repel for Students




  1. 1 :  to drive back We tried to repel the enemy.

  2. 2 :  to push away Two magnets can repel each other.

  3. 3 :  to keep out :  resist The cloth is treated to repel water.

  4. 4 :  2disgust The sight repelled everyone.

Word Root of repel

The Latin word pellere, meaning “to cause to move” or “to drive,” gives us the root pel. Words from the Latin pellere have something to do with driving or causing something to move. To propel is to drive forward. To compel is to drive someone to do something. To expel is to drive out. To repel is to drive back or away.

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to plunder or ravage

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