repudiate

verb

re·​pu·​di·​ate ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt How to pronounce repudiate (audio)
repudiated; repudiating

transitive verb

1
a
: to refuse to accept
especially : to reject as unauthorized or as having no binding force
repudiate a contract
repudiate a will
b
: to reject as untrue or unjust
repudiate a charge
2
: to refuse to acknowledge or pay
repudiate a debt
3
: to refuse to have anything to do with : disown
repudiate a cause
… unless they repudiated the failed policies of the past and took decisive action, the party might fracture or lose its hold on the electorate.Walter A. McDougall
4
dated : to divorce or separate formally from (a woman to whom one is betrothed or married)
"The incident was witnessed by … the Marquess Zanipolo, who, in consequence, has already repudiated his unhappy bride."Edith Wharton
repudiator noun

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 speakers borrowed repudiare to create the English verb repudiate, which they used as a synonym of divorce when in reference to a wife and as a synonym of disown when in reference to a member of one's family. They also used the word more generally in the sense of "to reject or cast off." By the 18th century repudiate 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.

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of repudiate in a Sentence

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
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
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
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
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
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
a generation that has repudiated the values of the past He has publicly repudiated the government's policies. He published an article that repudiates the study's claims. She says she has evidence which repudiates the allegations. See More
Recent Examples on the Web After his staff took part in lengthy negotiations to produce a new border measure, those same conservatives quickly repudiated it, and Mr. McConnell ended up voting against what was essentially his bill. Carl Hulse, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2024 After all, what better way to repudiate someone — or a movement — espousing plainly anti-democratic values and policies than through the ballot box? Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, 12 Jan. 2024 That led Republicans to demand a border crackdown in exchange for any further funding for Kyiv, a compromise that Mr. Trump has now repudiated. Annie Karni, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2024 Biden has failed to recommit to ratifying the United States’ accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade agreement with 12 dynamic Asian countries that President Barack Obama signed but Trump repudiated. Kori Schake, Foreign Affairs, 4 Dec. 2023 Aware of the political liability of those stances for someone who now represents the House Republican conference as a whole, Mr. Johnson has tried to distance himself from his past comments, without repudiating them. Annie Karni, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 The revelation was made public in a federal court filing by the Biden administration in its lawsuit against the barrier, which Texas set up in July as part of an initiative directed by Gov. Greg Abbott to repel migrants and repudiate President Biden's border policies. Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 15 Aug. 2023 Any move to avoid South Africa’s obligations by changing or repudiating the law would have to pass through the South African Parliament and could be overturned by the country’s Constitutional Court. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 19 July 2023 In those states, the Republican Party’s culture war was repudiated. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'repudiate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of repudiate was in 1545

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Dictionary Entries Near repudiate

Cite this Entry

“Repudiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repudiate. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

repudiate

verb
re·​pu·​di·​ate ri-ˈpyüd-ē-ˌāt How to pronounce repudiate (audio)
repudiated; repudiating
1
: to refuse to have anything to do with
2
: to refuse to accept or pay
repudiate a debt
repudiation
-ˌpyüd-ē-ˈā-shən
noun
repudiator noun

Legal Definition

repudiate

transitive verb
re·​pu·​di·​ate ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt How to pronounce repudiate (audio)
repudiated; repudiating
: 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)
repudiator noun

More from Merriam-Webster on repudiate

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