Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of retract are abjure, forswear, recant, and renounce. While all these words mean "to withdraw one's word or professed belief," retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation.

the newspaper had to retract the story

When would abjure be a good substitute for retract?

The words abjure and retract are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, abjure implies a firm and final rejecting or abandoning often made under oath.

abjured the errors of his former faith

In what contexts can forswear take the place of retract?

The meanings of forswear and retract largely overlap; however, forswear may add an implication of perjury or betrayal.

I cannot forswear my principles

When might recant be a better fit than retract?

While in some cases nearly identical to retract, recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught.

if they recant they will be spared

When is renounce a more appropriate choice than retract?

The synonyms renounce and retract are sometimes interchangeable, but renounce may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown.

renounced abstract art and turned to portrait painting

Thesaurus Entries Near retract

Cite this Entry

“Retract.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on retract

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