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From Latin refūtō



refute ‎(third-person singular simple present refutes, present participle refuting, simple past and past participle refuted)

  1. (transitive) To prove (something) to be false or incorrect.
    • 1791, James Boswell, The life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D.:
      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).

Usage notes[edit]

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.



Related terms[edit]


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  1. first-person singular (eu) present subjunctive of refutar
  2. third-person singular (ele and ela, also used with você and others) present subjunctive of refutar
  3. third-person singular (você) affirmative imperative of refutar
  4. third-person singular (você) negative imperative of refutar




  1. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of refutar.
  2. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of refutar.
  3. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of refutar.
  4. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of refutar.