1 : to divorce or separate formally from (a woman)
2 : to refuse to have anything to do with : disown
3 a : to refuse to accept; especially : to reject as unauthorized or as having no binding force
b : to reject as untrue or unjust
4 : to refuse to acknowledge or pay
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.
"He immediately proceeded to repudiate his wife, and to contract a new marriage with the princess of Trebizond…." — Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 6, 1788
"Our cover girl, Gigi Hadid, … might not seem at first glance to define bravery, but when she sternly repudiated the vicious online sniping about her body last year she stood up not only for herself but for the many, many young women who don't live up to some people's ridiculous and extremely narrow—literally—ideal of a fashionable physique." — Anna Wintour, Vogue, August 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
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