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Alternative formsEdit


Borrowed from Latin renegō, from negō (I deny). Possibly influenced by renegotiate. See also renegade.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈn(e)ɪɡ/, /ɹɪˈniːɡ/, /ɹiːˈnɛɡ/, /ɹiːˈn(e)ɪɡ/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈneɪɡ/, /ɹɪˈniːɡ/
  • (file)


renege (third-person singular simple present reneges, present participle reneging, simple past and past participle reneged)

  1. (intransitive) To break a promise or commitment; to go back on one's word.
    • 2011 February 5, Michael Kevin Darling, “Tottenham 2 - 1 Bolton”, in BBC[1]:
      Just before half-time, Clattenburg awarded Spurs a penalty for the third time after a handball in the area but he reneged after realising that the linesman had flagged Crouch offside in the build-up.
  2. (intransitive) In a card game, to break one's commitment to follow suit when capable.
  3. (transitive, archaic) To deny; to renounce
    • c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals):
      : Act I, Scene i:
      Nay, but this dotage of our generall
      Ore-flowes the meaſure: thoſe his goodly eyes,
      That o're the files and muſters of the Warre,
      Have glow'd like plated Mars:
      now bend, now turne
      The Office and Devotion of their view
      Vpon a Tawny front. His captaines heart,
      Which in the ſcuffles of great fights hath burſt
      The Buckles on his breaſt, reneages all temper,
      And is become the bellowes and the Fan
      To coole a Gypſies Luſt.
    • Sylvester
      All Europe high (all sorts of rights reneged) / Against the truth and thee unholy leagued.

Related termsEdit



  • renege” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.