Refute, Repudiate

Refute, Repudiate

Refute, Repudiate (but not Refudiate!)


Refudiate is a non-existent word but sprang into public domain (cyberspace) because of Sarah Palin the former Governor of Alaska and the vice-presidential candidate of Republican Party in the 2008 US presidential elections. She wrote: “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”  Subsequently, she accepted it was a faux-word when it viral on online. It should have been repudiate not refudiate but it came to be known as Palinism.



Refute means to rebut or disprove forcefully and conclusively such as an allegation, statement, opinion, etc made by someone with arguments, proof and evidence. Proving what someone said (statement or argument) about someone or something was wrong. It is a stronger word than denying or disputing someone’s allegation.


Refute means point out the falsity; rebuttal against someone’s argument possibly by nailing the wrongness of someone’s claim, theory, argument, hypothesis etc.


The climate change sceptics (failing refuters) are finding hard to refute scientists’ evidence of global warming.


Derivatives of the verb refute are refutable (adjective), refutal, refutation and refuter (nouns).


The Illustrated Oxford Dictionary cites three meanings for refute: 1. prove the falsity or error (of a statement etc. or the person advancing it). 2. Rebut or repel by argument. 3. disp(uted)  deny or contradict (without argument or using evidence). It emphasizes: “Usage The use of refute in this sense is considered incorrect by some people. It is often confused with repudiate.” Because refute and repudiate imply non-acceptance but they are not interchangeable words. Refute is a stronger word than disputing or denying a statement; but some dictionaries list refute as one of the synonyms for repudiate.



Repudiate is of Latin origin – repudiatus – divorced. It means disown, disavow, reject, refuse dealings with, deny, refuse to have anything with somebody; refuse to recognize, opinion, view, claim, suggestion.


Refuse to abide to an authority or to an agreement or treaty, refuse to discharge an obligation or debt. Repudiate means refusing to carryout something that is expected, refuse to recognize or obey authority or a treaty; refuse to accept someone or something as true or good or reasonable.


Repudiation is a noun.


Upon knowing the politician was corrupt, the party repudiated him that he was the rising start in the party.


The family repudiated him when he decided to marry a girl from another caste, another religion, another country…are also common factual stories of some societies…


Derivatives of the verb repudiate are repudiated, repudiating, repudiates (verbs), repudiative (adjective), repudiator & repudiation (nouns).


Organisations need refuters and repudiators.



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