repel

verb
re·​pel | \ ri-ˈpel How to pronounce repel (audio) \
repelled; repelling

Definition of repel

transitive verb

1a : to drive back : repulse
b : to fight against : resist
2 : turn away, reject repelled the insinuation
3a : to drive away : discourage foul words and frowns must not repel a lover— William Shakespeare
b : to be incapable of adhering to, mixing with, taking up, or holding
c : to force away or apart or tend to do so by mutual action at a distance
4 : to cause aversion in : disgust

intransitive verb

: to cause aversion

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Other Words from repel

repeller noun

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").

Examples of repel in a Sentence

a fabric that repels water Their superior forces repelled the invasion. Two positive electrical charges repel each other. Magnets can both repel and attract one another.
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Recent Examples on the Web

While Mr Trump has repelled refugees, Mr Trudeau has welcomed them, notably Syrians and gay people from Chechnya. The Economist, "CanadaCanadians must decide if they want to remain a liberal beacon," 25 July 2019 Sophia Swannell excels as a pampered Brit repelling the advances of a much-younger islander, while the more flamboyant Dwan Hayes shakes things up by vigorously pursuing one of the suitors. Tom Titus, latimes.com, "On Theater: ‘Mamma Mia!’ is the perfect remedy for whatever ails you," 11 July 2019 Like other Crizal lenses that have the GH Seal, this line repels water and dust, protects against glare, and features a scratch- and smudge-resistant finish. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "GH Seal Spotlight: Crizal Prevencia Lenses," 28 June 2019 In order to reach the victim, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, firefighters and paramedics repelled down the side of the cliff using a rope and basket system. Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, "Driver rescued after plunging 150 feet from Pacifica cliff," 16 June 2019 The points could be an infinite collection of electrons, for example, repelling each other and trying to settle into the lowest-energy configuration. Quanta Magazine, "Out of a Magic Math Function, One Solution to Rule Them All," 13 May 2019 One of Stone's primary techniques employs guardian dog teams to protect livestock and repel wolves. Josh Adler, National Geographic, "Making peace in the Golan Heights—between humans and wolves," 11 Apr. 2019 If the anode was coated with negative charges, the scientists realized, those layers repel chloride and temper the rate of decay in the underlying metal. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Are Now Transforming Saltwater Into Hydrogen Fuel," 20 Mar. 2019 Clashes were limited to the outskirts of the field and the attack was repelled with airstrikes, Mr. Jaber said, killing three civilians in the process. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "U.S.-Backed Forces Push to Capture Islamic State’s Last Territory in Syria," 11 Feb. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of repel

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for repel

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

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Statistics for repel

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for repel

The first known use of repel was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for repel

repel

verb

English Language Learners Definition of repel

: 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

verb
re·​pel | \ ri-ˈpel How to pronounce repel (audio) \
repelled; repelling

Kids Definition of repel

1 : to drive back We tried to repel the enemy.
2 : to push away Two magnets can repel each other.
3 : to keep out : resist The cloth is treated to repel water.
4 : disgust entry 2 The sight repelled everyone.

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More from Merriam-Webster on repel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with repel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for repel

Spanish Central: Translation of repel

Nglish: Translation of repel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repel for Arabic Speakers

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