or re·pel·lant



causing distaste or aversion; repulsive.
forcing or driving back.
serving or tending to ward off or drive away.
impervious or resistant to something (often used in combination): moth-repellant.


Origin of repellent

1635–45; < Latin repellent- (stem of repellēns), present participle of repellere to drive back. See repel, -ent
Related formsre·pel·lent·ly, adverbin·ter·re·pel·lent, adjectivenon·re·pel·lent, adjectiveself-re·pel·lent, adjectiveun·re·pel·lent, adjectiveun·re·pel·lent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedrepellent repulsive

Synonyms for repellent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for repellant

Contemporary Examples of repellant

Historical Examples of repellant

  • With every day the wilderness was becoming more naked and stern and repellant.

    Grit A-Plenty

    Dillon Wallace

  • The repellant forces that kept him back, are "not far to seek."

  • Cornlie was glad to meet at the hotel a Dutch element that was not repellant.

    The Law Inevitable

    Louis Couperus

  • The words were civil enough, but the tone was brusque and repellant.

    The Yellow House

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • He was in such great and desperate earnest that he was not quite so repellant as usual.

    A Plucky Girl

    L. T. Meade

British Dictionary definitions for repellant



giving rise to disgust or aversion; distasteful or repulsive
driving or forcing away or back; repelling

noun Also: repellant

something, esp a chemical substance, that repelsinsect repellent
a substance with which fabrics are treated to increase their resistance to water
Derived Formsrepellence or repellency, nounrepellently, adverb
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 repellant



also repellant, 1640s, from Latin repellentem (nominative repelens), present participle of repellere (see repel). Originally of medicines (that reduced tumors); meaning "distasteful, disagreeable" first recorded 1797.



also repellant, 1660s, "medicine that reduces tumors," from repellent (adj.). As "substance that repels insects," 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

repellant in Medicine




Capable of driving off or repelling.


A substance used to drive off or keep away insects.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.