[ rek-yuh-zuh nt, ri-kyoo-zuh nt ]
/ ˈrɛk yə zənt, rɪˈkyu zənt /


refusing to submit, comply, etc.
obstinate in refusal.
English History. refusing to attend services of the Church of England.


a person who is recusant.
English History. a person, especially a Roman Catholic, who refused to attend the services of the Church of England.

Nearby words

  1. recurvation,
  2. recurve,
  3. recurved,
  4. recusal,
  5. recusancy,
  6. recusation,
  7. recuse,
  8. recyclable,
  9. recycle,
  10. recycling

Origin of recusant

1545–55; < Latin recūsant- (stem of recūsāns), present participle of recusāre to demur, object, equivalent to re- re- + -cūsāre, verbal derivative of causa cause; see -ant

Related formsun·rec·u·sant, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for recusant

British Dictionary definitions for recusant


/ (ˈrɛkjʊzənt) /


(in 16th to 18th century England) a Roman Catholic who did not attend the services of the Church of England, as was required by law
any person who refuses to submit to authority


(formerly, of Catholics) refusing to attend services of the Church of England
refusing to submit to authority
Derived Formsrecusance or recusancy, noun

Word Origin for recusant

C16: from Latin recūsāns refusing, from recūsāre from re- + causārī to dispute, from causa a cause

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 recusant



"obstinate in refusal," 1550s, from Latin recusantem (nominative recusans) "refusing to obey," present participle of recusare "make an objection against; decline, refuse, reject; be reluctant to" (see recuse). The noun meaning "one obstinate in refusing" is from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper