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

Definition of repudiate

transitive verb

1a : 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

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Other Words from repudiate

repudiator \ ri-​ˈpyü-​dē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce repudiate (audio) \ noun

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

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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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Critics of the nuclear deal maintain that the administration has already given away too much in exchange for too little by signaling its desire to repudiate Trump's repudiation of the nuclear deal. Matthew Lee, ajc, 22 June 2021 But Adams—like his rivals—could choose to repudiate any super PAC. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 9 June 2021 Within certain limits, an author is entitled to repudiate another’s co-authorship under the Copyright Act. Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, 13 May 2021 The three clubs which have yet to repudiate their involvement – Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid – face more significant punishment. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2021 Demands for artists who work with Rudin to publicly repudiate him mounted on social media in the days after the report. Peter Marks, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Apr. 2021 Demands for artists who work with Rudin to publicly repudiate him mounted on social media in the days after the report. Peter Marks, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Apr. 2021 The Federal Reserve’s new policy framework and its officials’ speeches are eerily reminiscent of the early 1970s, and repudiate the standard lessons of that experience. John H. Cochrane, National Review, 26 Apr. 2021 And the case was notable for the parade of fellow officers who lined up to testify against their former colleague and to repudiate his conduct. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 21 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'repudiate.' 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 repudiate

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for repudiate

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

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The first known use of repudiate was in 1545

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Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Repudiate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for repudiate



English Language Learners Definition of repudiate

: to refuse to accept or support (something) : to reject (something or someone)
: to say or show that (something) is not true


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

Kids Definition of repudiate

1 : to refuse to have anything to do with They repudiated their wayward son.
2 : to refuse to believe or approve of She repudiated the rumors.


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

Legal Definition of repudiate

: 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)

Other Words from repudiate

repudiator \ -​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce repudiate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on repudiate

Nglish: Translation of repudiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repudiate for Arabic Speakers


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