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[ri-pel] /rɪˈpɛl/
verb (used with object), repelled, repelling.
to drive or force back (an assailant, invader, etc.).
to thrust back or away.
to resist effectively (an attack, onslaught, etc.).
to keep off or out; fail to mix with:
Water and oil repel each other.
to resist the absorption or passage of (water or other liquid):
This coat repels rain.
to refuse to have to do with; resist involvement in:
to repel temptation.
to refuse to accept or admit; reject:
to repel a suggestion.
to discourage the advances of (a person):
He repelled me with his harshness.
to cause distaste or aversion in:
Their untidy appearance repelled us.
to push back or away by a force, as one body acting upon another (opposed to attract):
The north pole of one magnet will repel the north pole of another.
verb (used without object), repelled, repelling.
to act with a force that drives or keeps away something.
to cause distaste or aversion.
Origin of repel
1350-1400; Middle English repellen < Latin repellere to drive back, equivalent to re- re- + pellere to drive, push; see repulse
Related forms
repellence, repellency, noun
repeller, noun
repellingly, adverb
repellingness, noun
nonrepellence, noun
nonrepellency, noun
nonrepeller, noun
self-repellency, noun
unrepelled, adjective
1. repulse, parry, ward off. 3. withstand, oppose, rebuff. 7. decline, rebuff.
1. attract. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for repelling
Historical Examples
  • "I am better alone," said Ellen, with a repelling motion of the hand.

    The Elm Tree Tales F. Irene Burge Smith
  • Chet felt the lift of the repelling Area as they shot through.

    The Finding of Haldgren Charles Willard Diffin
  • It was not that he was cold and distant, repelling familiarity and refusing sympathy.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • Is not that a very cold and repelling answer to the good vicar's letter?

    A Rent In A Cloud Charles James Lever
  • But, in this case, what had been his reason for repelling her at first and making her suffer so long?

    An Iceland Fisherman Pierre Loti
  • In spite of his cold and repelling manner, Arthur, too, took greatly to him.

    On the Banks of the Amazon W.H.G. Kingston
  • The repelling reception was altogether unexpected, and placed me in a predicament.

    The Wild Huntress Mayne Reid
  • Her face darkened and she lifted her hand in a quick, repelling gesture.

    The Bridge of the Gods

    Frederic Homer Balch
  • You'll never improve a man by repelling him, especially a boy.

    Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • There seemed to Mordaunt to be a sort of repelling influence about the man.

    The Pirate

    Sir Walter Scott
British Dictionary definitions for repelling


verb (mainly transitive) -pels, -pelling, -pelled
to force or drive back (something or somebody, esp an attacker)
(also intransitive) to produce a feeling of aversion or distaste in (someone or something); be disgusting (to)
to push aside; dismiss: he repelled the suggestion as wrong and impossible
to be effective in keeping away, controlling, or resisting: an aerosol spray that repels flies
to have no affinity for; fail to mix with or absorb: water and oil repel each other
to disdain to accept (something); turn away from or spurn: she repelled his advances
(also intransitive) to exert an opposing force on (something): an electric charge repels another charge of the same sign
Derived Forms
repeller, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin repellere, from re- + pellere to push, drive
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 repelling



early 15c., "to drive away, remove," from Old French repeller or directly from Latin repellere "to drive back," from re- "back" (see re-) + pellere "to drive, strike" (see pulse (n.1)). Meaning "to affect (a person) with distaste or aversion" is from 1817. Related: Repelled; repelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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