[ noun ri-buhf, ree-buhf; verb ri-buhf ]
See synonyms for: rebuffrebuffedrebuffing on

  1. a blunt or abrupt rejection, as of a person making advances.

  2. a peremptory refusal of a request, offer, etc.; snub.

  1. a check to action or progress.

verb (used with object)
  1. 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

Other words for rebuff

Other words from rebuff

  • re·buff·a·ble, adjective
  • re·buff·a·bly, adverb
  • un·re·buff·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·buffed, adjective

Words Nearby rebuff Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rebuff in a sentence

  • "Tell him to call," she said to Tim, who delivered her message rather awkwardly, as if expecting a rebuff.

    The Cromptons | Mary J. Holmes
  • Nothing dismayed by his first rebuff, the audacious Fouch again intervened.

    The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte | William Milligan Sloane
  • He was so easily rebuffed, and she was so reluctant to rebuff him.

    A Houseful of Girls | Sarah Tytler
  • Take, for instance, the matter of a caress or an embrace—how would you react to repeated rebuff?

    The Mother and Her Child | William S. Sadler

British Dictionary definitions for rebuff


/ (rɪˈbʌf) /

  1. to snub, reject, or refuse (a person offering help or sympathy, an offer of help, etc) abruptly or out of hand

  2. to beat back (an attack); repel

  1. a blunt refusal or rejection; snub

  2. any sudden check to progress or action

Origin of rebuff

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