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See also: repèl



From Middle English repellen, a borrowing from Old French *repeller, from Latin repellere (to drive back), from re- (back) + pellere (to drive). Doublet of repeal.


  • enPR: rĭ-pĕlʹ, IPA(key): /ɹɪˈpɛl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛl
  • Hyphenation: re‧pel


repel (third-person singular simple present repels, present participle repelling, simple past and past participle repelled)

  1. (transitive, now rare) To turn (someone) away from a privilege, right, job, etc. [from 15th c.]
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition II, section 3, member 7:
      It is some satisfaction to him that is repelled, that dignities, honours, offices, are not alwayes given by desert or worth, but for love, affinitie, friendship, affection, great mens letters, or as commonly they are bought and sold.
  2. (transitive) To reject, put off (a request, demand etc.). [from 15th c.]
  3. (transitive) To ward off (a malignant influence, attack etc.). [from 15th c.]
  4. (transitive) To drive back (an assailant, advancing force etc.). [from 15th c.]
    • 2011 May 19, Ian Traynor, The Guardian:
      In nearby Zintan, rebels repelled an advance by Gaddafi's forces, killing eight and taking one prisoner, a local activist said.
  5. (transitive, physics) To force away by means of a repulsive force. [from 17th c.]
  6. (transitive) To cause repulsion or dislike in; to disgust. [from 18th c.]
    • 2008 January 26, The Guardian:
      However, while the idea of a free holiday appeals enormously, I am frankly repelled by the idea of spending a couple of weeks in your company.
  7. (transitive, sports) To save (a shot).
    • 2011 December 10, David Ornstein, “Arsenal 1-0 Everton”, in BBC Sport:
      Arsenal pressed forward again after half-time but other than a venomous Walcott shot that Howard repelled with a fine one-handed save, the hosts offered little cutting edge.



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From re- +‎ pèl.



repel m (plural repels)

  1. a hair out of place
  2. (woodworking) snag
  3. (dialectal) hangnail
    Synonym: repeló

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