[ ri-kyooz ]
/ rɪˈkyuz /
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verb (used with object), re·cused, re·cus·ing.

to reject or challenge (a judge, juror, or attorney) as disqualified to act in a particular case, especially because of potential conflict of interest or bias.
to disqualify or withdraw (oneself or someone else) from any position of judging or decision-making so as to avoid a semblance of personal interest or bias: The senator has recused himself from the vote because of his prior association with the company.

verb (used without object), re·cused, re·cus·ing.

to withdraw from any position of judging or decision-making so as to avoid a semblance of personal interest or bias.



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Origin of recuse

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English recusen, from Middle French recuser, and from Latin recūsāre “to demur, object”; see recusant


re·cu·sal, nounrec·u·sa·tion [rek-yoo-zey-shuhn], /ˌrɛk yʊˈzeɪ ʃən/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does recuse mean?

Recuse most commonly means to withdraw from being in the position of judging a case or presiding over an investigation so as to avoid any partiality or bias.

This sense of the word is used reflexively, meaning it’s always followed by a reflexive pronoun, as in recuse yourself, recuse himself, recuse themselves.

Less commonly, recuse can mean to reject or challenge a judge or juror due to the belief that they are biased.

In both senses, recusing is typically done to avoid a conflict of interest—a situation in which the person doing the voting, judging, or investigating has some personal connection to the case that could influence their decision.

People who recuse themselves aren’t resigning—they’re officially excusing themselves from participating.

Example: When I was called for jury duty, I knew the man who was on trial so I had to recuse myself.

Where does recuse come from?

The first records of the word recuse come from around the late 1300s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb recūsāre, meaning “to object or demur.”

It’s hard to be objective. It’s even harder when you have a personal connection to whatever is being decided. That’s why people are expected to recuse themselves in such cases. It’s possible to recuse yourself in everyday situations, such as refusing to take sides in an argument between two friends. But the term is most commonly used in situations that are formal, official, and serious, such as trials and investigations. The act of recusing is typically done by judges, jurors, and government officials. Most often, it’s because the person has a personal connection to the case or has had some experience that makes them impartial.

Less commonly, the word refers not to the act of recusing oneself but to the act of recusing someone else, such as in the case of a judge who recuses a juror thought to be biased against the defendant.

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How is recuse used in real life?

Recuse is most commonly used in a legal context. It’s closely associated with the phrase conflict of interest. 



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True or False? 

Recusing is the same as resigning.

Example sentences from the Web for recuse

British Dictionary definitions for recuse

/ (rəˈkjuːz, rɪˈkjuːz) /

verb US, Canadian and Southern African

(tr; reflexive) to remove from participation in a court case due to potential prejudice or partiality

Word Origin for recuse

C19: see recusant
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