Meaning of refute


The verb refute is to prove that something is wrong. When the kids you’re babysitting swear they brushed their teeth, you can refute their claim by presenting the dry toothbrushes.

Evidence and arguments are used to refute something. So are facts. For example, if children who eat chocolate before going to bed go straight to sleep, that refutes the idea that sugar keeps them up. Refute comes from the Latin refutare for “to check, suppress.” A near synonym is confute, but save refute as an everyday word for proving something is false.

Definitions of refute
  1. verb

    overthrow by argument, evidence, or proof

    “The speaker
    refuted his opponent’s arguments”


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    contradict, controvert, oppose

    be resistant to

    give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument)
    blackball, negative, veto

    vote against; refuse to endorse; refuse to assent
    dissent, protest, resist

    express opposition through action or words
    type of:

    disown, renounce, repudiate

    cast off

  2. verb

    prove to be false or incorrect


    controvert, rebut

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    type of:

    confute, disprove

    prove to be false

Word Family

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