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[noun ri-buhf, ree-buhf; verb ri-buhf] /noun rɪˈbʌf, ˈri bʌf; verb rɪˈbʌf/
a blunt or abrupt rejection, as of a person making advances.
a peremptory refusal of a request, offer, etc.; snub.
a check to action or progress.
verb (used with object)
to give a rebuff to; check; repel; refuse; drive away.
Origin of rebuff
1580-90; < Middle French rebuffer < Italian ribuffare to disturb, reprimand, derivative of ribuffo (noun), equivalent to ri- re- + buffo puff; see buffoon
Related forms
rebuffable, adjective
rebuffably, adverb
unrebuffable, adjective
unrebuffed, adjective
4. snub, slight, reject, spurn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rebuff
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Subconsciously his busy ego was finding solace after last night's rebuff.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Grant grinned at Miss Georgie, forgetting for the moment his rebuff that morning.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • At the house of an old lady of seventy, a paralytic, the rebuff was of a different kind.

    Doctor Pascal Emile Zola
  • Kate pretended to be angry at the rebuff, and pouted her lips, but her eyes were beaming.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Twas as though he must suffer the rebuff with no offended question.

  • Yet even from this rebuff he managed to deftly extract a compliment.

    James Boswell William Keith Leask
  • Madame Beattie seemed not to suspect the possibility of rebuff.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • People do fear a rebuff wonderfully, and all her audacity was in her thoughts.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for rebuff


verb (transitive)
to snub, reject, or refuse (a person offering help or sympathy, an offer of help, etc) abruptly or out of hand
to beat back (an attack); repel
a blunt refusal or rejection; snub
any sudden check to progress or action
Word Origin
C16: from Old French rebuffer, from Italian ribuffare, from ribuffo a reprimand, from ri-re- + buffo puff, gust, apparently of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rebuff

1580s, from obsolete French rebuffer "to check, snub," from Italian ribuffare "to check, chide, snide," from ribuffo "a snub," from ri- "back" (from Latin re-, see re-) + buffo "a puff," of imitative origin (cf. buffet (v.)). Related: Rebuffed; rebuffing.


1610s, from rebuff (v.), or from Middle French rebuffe or Italian ribuffo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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