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See more synonyms for refute on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), re·fut·ed, re·fut·ing.
  1. to prove to be false or erroneous, as an opinion or charge.
  2. to prove (a person) to be in error.
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Origin of refute

1505–15; < Latin refūtāre “to check, suppress, refute, rebut,” equivalent to re- re- + -fūtāre presumably, “to beat” (attested only with the prefixes con- and re-; cf. confute)
Related formsre·fut·a·ble [ri-fyoo-tuh-buhl, ref-yuh-tuh-] /rɪˈfyu tə bəl, ˈrɛf yə tə-/, adjectivere·fut·a·bil·i·ty, nounre·fut·a·bly, adverbre·fut·er, nounself-re·fut·ed, adjectiveself-re·fut·ing, adjectiveun·re·fut·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·fut·a·bly, adverbun·re·fut·ed, adjectiveun·re·fut·ing, adjective
Can be confuseddeny disapprove disprove rebut refutedispute refuterefudiate refute repudiate (see word story at refudiate)

Synonyms for refute

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1. disprove, rebut. 1, 2. confute.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for refutable

Historical Examples of refutable

  • It is certainly not the least charm of a theory, says Nietzsche, that it is refutable.

    Philosophy and The Social Problem

    Will Durant

  • If my belief ever had its origin in reason, it must be ever refutable by reason.

  • It is a race-slander, refutable by any honest investigator, that the American Negro as a race is unwilling to work.

    The Southern South

    Albert Bushnell Hart

British Dictionary definitions for refutable


  1. (tr) to prove (a statement, theory, charge, etc) of (a person) to be false or incorrect; disprove
  2. to deny (a claim, charge, allegation, etc)
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Derived Formsrefutable (ˈrɛfjʊtəbəl, rɪˈfjuː-), adjectiverefutability (ˌrɛfjʊtəˈbɪlɪtɪ, rɪˌfjuː-), nounrefutably, adverbrefuter, noun

Word Origin for refute

C16: from Latin refūtāre to rebut


The use of refute to mean deny is thought by many people to be incorrect
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 refutable



1510s, "refuse, reject," from Middle French réfuter (16c.) and directly from Latin refutare "drive back; rebut, disprove; repress, repel, resist, oppose," from re- "back" (see re-) + -futare "to beat," probably from PIE root *bhau- "to strike down" (see bat (n.1)).

Meaning "prove wrong" dates from 1540s. Since c.1964 linguists have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards "to deny," as it is used in connection with allegation. Related: Refuted; refuting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper