verb re·pu·di·ate \ ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt \
|Updated on: 23 Jul 2018

Definition of repudiate

repudiated; repudiating
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


play \ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌā-tər\ noun

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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 HitchensHarper'sFebruary 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 AdlerShapeSeptember 1993
  3. While a wife could divorce her husband only for good reason … a husband could repudiate his wife without giving any reason … —Albert HouraniA History of the Arab Peoples1991
  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 ErlangerNew York Times29 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 RosenblumA World History of Photography1989
  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. PerilloThe Law of Contracts1987
  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.

Recent Examples of repudiate from the Web

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.

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

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


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

repudiated; repudiating
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.

Law Dictionary


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

legal Definition of repudiate

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)


play \-ˌā-tər\ noun

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very hard to disturb or upset

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