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

transitive verb

: to refuse to accept
especially : to reject as unauthorized or as having no binding force
repudiate a contract
repudiate a will
: to reject as untrue or unjust
repudiate a charge
: to refuse to acknowledge or pay
repudiate a debt
: 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
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Several members of the Kennedy family have publicly repudiated Mr. Kennedy’s presidential bid. Rebecca Davis O’Brien, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2024 And Moms for Liberty, the conservative organization driving book bans in many school districts, was decisively repudiated in last year’s midterms and now appears to be in rapid decline. Jeff Raikes, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for repudiate 

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


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


Dictionary Entries Near repudiate

Cite this Entry

“Repudiate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

Legal Definition


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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