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]:
      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, [Act I, scene i]:
      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.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sylvester and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      All Europe high (all sorts of rights reneged) / Against the truth and thee unholy leagued.

Related termsEdit



  • renege” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.