First attested in 1535, from Latin recantare, present active infinitive of recanto (“to sing back, reecho, sing again, repeat in singing, recant, recall, revoke, charm back or away”), from re- (“back”) + canto (“to chant, to sing”), frequentative of cano.
- (transitive, intransitive) To withdraw or repudiate a statement or opinion formerly expressed, especially formally and publicly.
- Synonyms: abjure, disavow, disown, recall, retract, revoke, take back, unsay, withcall; see also Thesaurus:recant
- Convince me that I am wrong, and I will recant.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book 4”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
- How soon […] ease would recant / Vows made in pain, as violent and void!
- 2020 September 6, “Joe Biden’s China Journey”, in New York Times:
- But as Mr. Trump denounces what he describes as failures by the Washington establishment on China, Mr. Biden, an avatar of that establishment, is not recanting his past enthusiasm for engagement.
- To give a new cant (slant, angle) to something, in particular railway track on a curve.
- 1941 June, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 263:
- Numerous curves, which previously had given no trouble at 75 and 80 m.p.h., were realigned and recanted to adapt them for 90 m.p.h. and more, [...].
- recant in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- recant in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- recant at OneLook Dictionary Search
- Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “recant”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.