verb re·pu·di·ate \ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt\

Definition of repudiate




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to divorce or separate formally from (a woman)

  3. 2 :  to refuse to have anything to do with :  disown

  4. 3a :  to refuse to accept; especially :  to reject as unauthorized or as having no binding force <repudiate a contract>b :  to reject as untrue or unjust <repudiate a charge>

  5. 4 :  to refuse to acknowledge or pay <repudiate a debt>


play \-ˌā-tər\ noun

Examples of repudiate in a sentence

  1. During the Algerian war of independence, the United States had also repudiated France's claimed right to attack a town in neighboring Tunisia that succored Algerian guerrillas … —Christopher Hitchens, Harper's, February 2001

  2. When witnessing abuse, boys will identify with the seemingly powerful father who appears to be a “winner” and will repudiate the mother, who seems to be the “loser.” —Constance Adler, Shape, September 1993

  3. While a wife could divorce her husband only for good reason … a husband could repudiate his wife without giving any reason … —Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, 1991

  4. Voters in Myanmar … appeared today to have sharply repudiated their military rulers and to have given a landslide victory to the main opposition party … —Steven Erlanger, New York Times, 29 May 1990

  5. Photographs, the most ubiquitous emblem of mass culture, found an obvious place in Pop Art, and were embraced by those intent on repudiating the preciosity of action painting. —Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography, 1989

  6. Three weeks after the agreement was made and before any specifications were submitted, the buyer repudiated the agreement. —John D. Calamari and Joseph M. Perillo, The Law of Contracts, 1987

  7. a generation that has repudiated the values of the past

  8. He has publicly repudiated the government's policies.

  9. He published an article that repudiates the study's claims.

  10. She says she has evidence which repudiates the allegations.

Did You Know?

In Latin, the noun "repudium" refers to the rejection of a spouse or prospective spouse, and the related verb repudiare means "to divorce" or "to reject." In the 16th century, English writers used the derivative "repudiate" to mean "to divorce," when in reference to a wife, or "to disown," when in reference to a member of one's family, or just generally "to reject or cast off." By the 19th century the word had also come to be used for the rejection of things that one does not accept as true or just, ranging from opinions and accusations to contracts and debts.

Origin and Etymology of repudiate

Latin repudiatus, past participle of repudiare, from repudium rejection of a prospective spouse, divorce, probably from re- + pudēre to shame

First Known Use: 1545

Synonym Discussion of repudiate

decline, refuse, reject, repudiate, spurn mean to turn away by not accepting, receiving, or considering. decline often implies courteous refusal especially of offers or invitations <declined his party's nomination>. refuse suggests more positiveness or ungraciousness and often implies the denial of something asked for <refused to lend them the money>. reject implies a peremptory refusal by sending away or discarding <rejected the manuscript as unpublishable>. repudiate implies a casting off or disowning as untrue, unauthorized, or unworthy of acceptance <teenagers who repudiate the values of their parents>. spurn stresses contempt or disdain in rejection or repudiation <spurned his overtures of friendship>.

REPUDIATE Defined for English Language Learners


verb re·pu·di·ate \ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt\

Definition of repudiate for English Language Learners

  • : to refuse to accept or support (something) : to reject (something or someone)

  • : to say or show that (something) is not true

REPUDIATE Defined for Kids


verb re·pu·di·ate \ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt\

Definition of repudiate for Students



  1. 1 :  to refuse to have anything to do with <They repudiated their wayward son.>

  2. 2 :  to refuse to believe or approve of <She repudiated the rumors.>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb re·pu·di·ate \ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt\

Legal Definition of repudiate



  1. :  to disavow or reject an obligation (as a debt) or duty (as performance under a contract); specifically :  to indicate an inability or unwillingness to perform as promised under (a contract)


\-ˌā-tər\ play noun

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up repudiate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


burden, obligation, or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • m-ws-new-words-quiz
  • Which word means "inability to recognize faces"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.