• Refute


    • RP: enPR: rə-fyo͞ot, IPA: /rɪˈfjuːt/, /rəˈfjut/
    • Hyphenation: re + fute
    • Rhymes: -uːt


    From Latin refūtō

    Full definition of refute


    1. (transitive) To prove (something) to be false or incorrect.
      • 1791, w:James Boswell, w, After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it.
    2. (transitive) To deny the truth or correctness of (something).
      • 1791, w:James Boswell, w, I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, "I refute it thus."

    Usage notes

    The second meaning of refute (to deny the truth of) is proscribed as erroneous by some (compare Merriam Webster,1994). An alternative term with such a meaning is repudiate, which means to reject or refuse to acknowledge, but without the implication of justification. However, this distinction does not exist in the original Latin refūtō ("oppose, resist, rebut"), which can apply to both senses.



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