See also: réfuté, réfute, and refuté



From Latin refūtō (refute, repudiate).



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, proscribed) To deny the truth or correctness of (something).

Usage notesEdit

  • 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.
  • Refute is also often confused with rebut; a rebuttal, in formal debate terms, is a counter-refutation, and it also has a specific legal sense, though like refutation, the word has taken on the informal and disputed meaning of denial.



Related termsEdit


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Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old French refuite, from refuir (to flee). Compare refuge.



refute (uncountable)

  1. refuge (state of protection or comfort)
  2. refuge (place of protection or comfort)
  3. A protector or comforter.





  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.