[ ri-pel ]
See synonyms for: repelrepelledrepelling on

verb (used with object),re·pelled, re·pel·ling.
  1. to drive or force back (an assailant, invader, etc.).

  2. to thrust back or away.

  1. to resist effectively (an attack, onslaught, etc.).

  2. to keep off or out; fail to mix with: Water and oil repel each other.

  3. to resist the absorption or passage of (water or other liquid): This coat repels rain.

  4. to refuse to have to do with; resist involvement in: to repel temptation.

  5. to refuse to accept or admit; reject: to repel a suggestion.

  6. to discourage the advances of (a person): He repelled me with his harshness.

  7. to cause distaste or aversion in: Their untidy appearance repelled us.

  8. to push back or away by a force, as one body acting upon another (opposed to attract): The north pole of one magnet will repel the north pole of another.

verb (used without object),re·pelled, re·pel·ling.
  1. to act with a force that drives or keeps away something.

  2. to cause distaste or aversion.

Origin of repel

1350–1400; Middle English repellen<Latin repellere to drive back, equivalent to re-re- + pellere to drive, push; see repulse

Other words for repel

Opposites for repel

Other words from repel

  • re·pel·lence, re·pel·len·cy, noun
  • re·pel·ler, noun
  • re·pel·ling·ly, adverb
  • re·pel·ling·ness, noun
  • non·re·pel·lence, noun
  • non·re·pel·len·cy, noun
  • non·re·pel·ler, noun
  • self-re·pel·len·cy, noun
  • un·re·pelled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use repel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for repel


/ (rɪˈpɛl) /

verb-pels, -pelling or -pelled (mainly tr)
  1. to force or drive back (something or somebody, esp an attacker)

  2. (also intr) to produce a feeling of aversion or distaste in (someone or something); be disgusting (to)

  1. to push aside; dismiss: he repelled the suggestion as wrong and impossible

  2. to be effective in keeping away, controlling, or resisting: an aerosol spray that repels flies

  3. to have no affinity for; fail to mix with or absorb: water and oil repel each other

  4. to disdain to accept (something); turn away from or spurn: she repelled his advances

  5. (also intr) to exert an opposing force on (something): an electric charge repels another charge of the same sign

Origin of repel

C15: from Latin repellere, from re- + pellere to push, drive


Derived forms of repel

  • repeller, noun

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