[ ri-kyooz ]
/ r瑟藞kyuz /
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verb (used with object), re路cused, re路cus路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 another person) from any position of judging or decision-making so as to avoid the appearance 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路cused, re路cus路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鈥1400; Middle English recusen, from Middle French recuser, and from Latin rec奴s膩re 鈥渢o demur, object鈥; see recusant


re路cu路sal, nounrec路u路sa路tion [rek-yoo-zey-shuhn], /藢r蓻k y蕣藞ze瑟 蕛蓹n/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does聽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鈥檚 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鈥攁 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鈥檛 resigning鈥攖hey鈥檙e 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聽recuse come from?

The first records of the word recuse come from around the late 1300s. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb rec奴s膩re, meaning 鈥渢o object or demur.鈥

It鈥檚 hard to be objective. It鈥檚 even harder when you have a personal connection to whatever is being decided. That鈥檚 why people are expected to recuse themselves in such cases. It鈥檚 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鈥檚 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聽recuse used in real life?

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



Try using聽recuse!

True or False?聽

Recusing is the same as resigning.

How to use recuse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for recuse

/ (r蓹藞kju藧z, r瑟藞kju藧z) /

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 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012