Thesaurus

refuse

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of refuse

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 to be unwilling to grant
  • the reclusive movie star usually refuses requests for interviews

Synonyms for refuse

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Antonyms for refuse

2 to show unwillingness to accept, do, engage in, or agree to
  • she refused the award, citing the hard work of others who deserved the recognition more than she did

Synonyms for refuse

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Antonyms for refuse

refuse

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of refuse (Entry 2 of 3)

discarded or useless material
  • refuse had littered the playground until our volunteer group cleaned it up

Synonyms for refuse

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refuse

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of refuse (Entry 3 of 3)

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Frequently Asked Questions About refuse

How is the word refuse different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of refuse are decline, reject, repudiate, and spurn. While all these words mean "to turn away by not accepting, receiving, or considering," refuse suggests more positiveness or ungraciousness and often implies the denial of something asked for.

refused to lend them the money

In what contexts can decline take the place of refuse?

In some situations, the words decline and refuse are roughly equivalent. However, decline often implies courteous refusal especially of offers or invitations.

declined his party's nomination

When is reject a more appropriate choice than refuse?

The synonyms reject and refuse are sometimes interchangeable, but reject implies a peremptory refusal by sending away or discarding.

rejected the manuscript as unpublishable

When can repudiate be used instead of refuse?

The words repudiate and refuse can be used in similar contexts, but repudiate implies a casting off or disowning as untrue, unauthorized, or unworthy of acceptance.

teenagers who repudiate the values of their parents

When could spurn be used to replace refuse?

Although the words spurn and refuse have much in common, spurn stresses contempt or disdain in rejection or repudiation.

spurned his overtures of friendship

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Time Traveler for refuse

Time Traveler

The first known use of refuse was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Refuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/refuse. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on refuse

Dictionary: Definition of refuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with refuse

Spanish Central: Translation of refuse

Nglish: Translation of refuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refuse for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about refuse

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