- causing distaste or aversion; repulsive.
- forcing or driving back.
- serving or tending to ward off or drive away.
- impervious or resistant to something (often used in combination): moth-repellant.
- something that repels, as a substance that keeps away insects.
- a medicine that serves to prevent or reduce swellings, tumors, etc.
- any of various durable or nondurable solutions applied to a fabric, garment, surface, etc., to increase its resistance, as to water, moths, mildew, etc.
Origin of repellent
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for repellent
This she did (we are not told how), and Beethoven reacted with ‘repellent coldness’.Beethoven in Love: The Woman Who Captivated the Young Composer
January 26, 2014
At first it seems the repellent extends to the men in her life.Lorraine Adams Reviews ‘Our Lady of Alice Bhatti’ by Mohammed Hanif
May 30, 2012
Among those matriarchs are countless Italian women who have told me that they find our own sexual politics “repellent” and “sad.”Berlusconi Exits, and an Era of Sexist Buffoonery Is Over
November 17, 2011
As much as America finds President Zardari repellent, we in Pakisan do, too.Obama's Murderous Guest
May 5, 2009
Repellent differences and dislikes separate them from mankind.Latin America and the United States
It was a repellent caricature, but could still be very funny.The Velvet Glove
He had found the only way, and repellent though it might be to him, he must take it.Captain Blood
There was something fascinating as well as repellent about the woods.Frank Merriwell's Cruise
Burt L. Standish
He grew daily more sullen and repellent, toward Albert noticeably so.Wayside Courtships
- giving rise to disgust or aversion; distasteful or repulsive
- driving or forcing away or back; repelling
- something, esp a chemical substance, that repelsinsect repellent
- a substance with which fabrics are treated to increase their resistance to water
Word Origin and History for repellent
also repellant, 1640s, from Latin repellentem (nominative repelens), present participle of repellere (see repel). Originally of medicines (that reduced tumors); meaning "distasteful, disagreeable" first recorded 1797.
also repellant, 1660s, "medicine that reduces tumors," from repellent (adj.). As "substance that repels insects," 1908.
- Capable of driving off or repelling.
- A substance used to drive off or keep away insects.