[ ri-fyooz ]
/ rɪˈfyuz /

verb (used with object), re·fused, re·fus·ing.

verb (used without object), re·fused, re·fus·ing.

to decline acceptance, consent, or compliance.

Origin of refuse

1300–50; Middle English refusen < Middle French refuser, Old FrenchLatin refūsus, past participle of refundere to pour back; see refund1


1 rebuff. Refuse, decline, reject, spurn all imply nonacceptance of something. To decline is milder and more courteous than to refuse, which is direct and often emphatic in expressing determination not to accept what is offered or proposed: to refuse a bribe; to decline an invitation. To reject is even more positive and definite than refuse : to reject a suitor. To spurn is to reject with scorn: to spurn a bribe.

OTHER WORDS FROM refuse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for refusing

British Dictionary definitions for refusing (1 of 2)

/ (rɪˈfjuːz) /


(tr) to decline to accept (something offered)to refuse a present; to refuse promotion
to decline to give or grant (something) to (a person, organization, etc)
(when tr, takes an infinitive) to express determination not (to do something); declinehe refuses to talk about it
(of a horse) to be unwilling to take (a jump), as by swerving or stopping
(tr) (of a woman) to declare one's unwillingness to accept (a suitor) as a husband

Derived forms of refuse

refusable, adjectiverefuser, noun

Word Origin for refuse

C14: from Old French refuser, from Latin refundere to pour back; see refund

British Dictionary definitions for refusing (2 of 2)

/ (ˈrɛfjuːs) /


  1. anything thrown away; waste; rubbish
  2. (as modifier)a refuse collection

Word Origin for refuse

C15: from Old French refuser to refuse 1
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