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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rebuff
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “You are going to Berbera, perhaps,” he went on, nowise discomfited by the rebuff.

    The River of Darkness William Murray Graydon
  • She met with a rebuff because she had Negro blood in her veins.

    The Hindered Hand Sutton E. Griggs
  • Young Anatole took his rebuff without any indication of emotion.

    Monsieur Cherami Charles Paul de Kock
  • But that confidence was very tremulous, ready to yield to the first rebuff.

    The Patrician John Galsworthy
  • Standing before his desk the eccentric scientist babbled his complaint of Vidac's rebuff and Roger's outrageous insolence.

    The Space Pioneers Carey Rockwell
  • Hence it was that I received my second rebuff of the morning.

    Dream Days Kenneth Grahame
  • Her action was almost a rebuff, and suggested small enough thanks.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • I was not in the mood to receive the rebuff calmly, and she simmered down.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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