re·​pel·​lent | \ ri-ˈpe-lənt How to pronounce repellent (audio) \
variants: or less commonly repellant

Definition of repellent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving or tending to drive away or ward off often used in combination a mosquito-repellent spray
2 : arousing aversion or disgust : repulsive


variants: or less commonly repellant

Definition of repellent (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that repels especially : a substance that repels insects

Other Words from repellent


repellently adverb

Examples of repellent in a Sentence

Adjective The candle has a repellent effect on insects. your snobbish behavior towards my friends is so repellent I can't stand to be around you anymore Noun a can of insect repellent Coat the exterior with a water repellent.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 16 Sep. 2022 Other precautions include wearing insect repellent with DEET when outside, avoiding wetlands or swampy areas, and wearing long sleeves, long pants, and socks. Johanna Seltz,, 7 Sep. 2022 As is frequently the case at Von Ammon, consumer products are presented as both beguiling and repellent. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2022 Proper repellent plays a huge role in understanding how to avoid ticks. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 10 Aug. 2022 German, especially for a Jewish student in 1942, was a sinister tongue contaminated by its criminal speakers, repellent in its very substance. Cynthia Ozick, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2022 The water- and stain-repellent polyester-elastane fabric is stretchy and has UPF 50 protection. Alex Temblador, Outside Online, 27 May 2022 The curtain is resistant to mildew to help protect them from getting ruined prematurely and is created with a water repellent to add an extra layer of protection against mold—and ensure that rain storms or snow won't ruin the fabric. Rachel Dube, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Sep. 2022 This fabric is also coated in a fluorocarbon-free DWR, or durable water repellent, which protects your skin from the elements as your rip through the mountains. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 17 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Post throws several events a week, such as a recent silent disco, yoga on the Skylawn or the now-infamous insect repellent drone show. Emma Balter, Chron, 17 Aug. 2022 The video goes on to describe the antics the twins came up with, which included putting rocks in Meredith’s backpack and mixing sugar water with her mosquito repellent. Wilson Wong, NBC News, 4 Aug. 2022 Together, this power duo emits a scent-free repellent to create a 15-foot protection zone from those pesky bugs. Kelsey Mulvey, Good Housekeeping, 7 July 2022 The military’s sudden shift is functioning as a repellent here, too. Jimmy Byrn, WSJ, 29 July 2022 Fertilome has a product called MosquitoGo that works very well as a natural repellent. Chris Mckeown, The Enquirer, 16 July 2022 Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin. Vanessa Etienne,, 13 June 2022 Past health problems caused by the insect repellent were mostly due to overapplication and ingestion. The Editors, Outside Online, 22 June 2020 One item that can and should go in the dryer is anything with a durable-water repellent (DWR) finish. Joe Lindsey, Outside Online, 17 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of repellent


1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1583, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for repellent


borrowed from Latin repellent-, repellens, present participle of repellere "to push away, drive back, fend off" — more at repel


derivative of repellent entry 1

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best bug spray.

Learn More About repellent

Time Traveler for repellent

Time Traveler

The first known use of repellent was in 1575

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near repellent




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for repellent

Last Updated

4 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Repellent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for repellent


re·​pel·​lent | \ ri-ˈpe-lənt How to pronounce repellent (audio) \

Kids Definition of repellent

: a substance used to keep off pests (as insects)


variants: also repellant \ ri-​ˈpel-​ənt How to pronounce repellent (audio) \

Medical Definition of repellent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving or tending to drive away or ward off often used in combination a mosquito-repellent spray


variants: also repellant

Medical Definition of repellent (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that repels especially : a substance used to prevent insect attacks


re·​pel·​lent | \ ri-ˈpe-lənt \

Legal Definition of repellent

: a method used to avoid or discourage a hostile corporate takeover

More from Merriam-Webster on repellent

Nglish: Translation of repellent for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about repellent


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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