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

The Trump administration’s flurry of unilateral economic sanctioning has sometimes seemed crafted with the intention of repelling would-be allies, rather than persuading them to join U.S.-driven economic wars. Phillip Dehne, Twin Cities, "Phillip Dehne: How World War I transformed economic warfare," 2 July 2019 The Kurds played a big role in repelling Islamic State (IS) in 2014-16, seeing off 16 assaults by the jihadists on Kirkuk. The Economist, "Two years after a disastrous referendum, Iraq’s Kurds are prospering," 15 June 2019 While there is some variation among species, penguin feathers have features such as tiny interlocking barbs to trap air, hinder heat loss and repel water. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 Torino, with their backs firmly pressed against the wall, stood strong and repelled the visitor's advances until the final whistle. SI.com, "Torino 1-0 Inter: Il Toro Spring Surprise to Dent Nerazzurri's Champions League Qualification Plans," 8 Apr. 2018 What are your top three man repelling items for spring? Veronique Hyland, Harper's BAZAAR, "Man Repelling With Rachel Roy This Valentine's Day," 25 Jan. 2011 During the war, tens of thousands of American troops were deployed to Adak to repel the Japanese invasion of Alaska. Author: Paxson Woelber, Anchorage Daily News, "Trekking into the storm-battered, golden beauty of Adak Island," 17 June 2019 MagLev uses magnets to repel the keys back up after being pressed. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Hands-on: Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 gets thinner and 2.5x faster with Intel's 10th Core i7," 28 May 2019 Luckily, the shirt continued to repel water based stains with ease, so don't worry about that red wine drip. Emma Seymour, Good Housekeeping, "This White Shirt Claims to Repel Stains — But Does It Work?," 16 May 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

10 Jul 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

Comments on repel

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