[noun ri-buhf, ree-buhf; verb ri-buhf]


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 formsre·buff·a·ble, adjectivere·buff·a·bly, adverbun·re·buff·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·buffed, adjective

Synonyms for rebuff Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rebuff

Contemporary Examples of rebuff

Historical Examples of rebuff

  • Subconsciously his busy ego was finding solace after last night's rebuff.


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for rebuff


verb (tr)

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 for 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

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