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dis- +‎ avow, or from Old French desavouer.


  • IPA(key): /dɪsəˈvaʊ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊ


disavow (third-person singular simple present disavows, present participle disavowing, simple past and past participle disavowed)

  1. (transitive) To strongly and solemnly refuse to own or acknowledge; to deny responsibility for, approbation of, and the like.
    Synonyms: abjure, deny, disclaim, disown, reject
    Antonyms: accept, own up
    He was charged with embezzlement, but he disavows the crime.
  2. (transitive) To deny; to show the contrary of; to deny legitimacy or achievement of any kind.
    Synonyms: disprove, deny, impugn, reject, repudiate
    Antonyms: accept, prove
    Because of her dissatisfaction, she now disavows the merits of fascism.


  • 1809James Madison, First State of the Union address
    These considerations not having restrained the British Government from disavowing the arrangement by virtue of which its orders in council were to be revoked, and the event authorizing the renewal of commercial intercourse having thus not taken place, it necessarily became a question of equal urgency and importance whether the act prohibiting that intercourse was not to be considered as remaining in legal force.
  • 1884Edwin Abbott Abbott, Flatland
    In a still more obscure passage he now desires to disavow the Circular or aristocratic tendencies with which some critics have naturally credited him.
  • 1901H. G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon, ch 12
    It came to me as an absolute, for a moment an overwhelming shock. It seemed as though it wasn't a face, as though it must needs be a mask, a horror, a deformity, that would presently be disavowed or explained.

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