or re·pel·lant

See more synonyms for repellent on
  1. causing distaste or aversion; repulsive.
  2. forcing or driving back.
  3. serving or tending to ward off or drive away.
  4. impervious or resistant to something (often used in combination): moth-repellant.
  1. something that repels, as a substance that keeps away insects.
  2. a medicine that serves to prevent or reduce swellings, tumors, etc.
  3. any of various durable or nondurable solutions applied to a fabric, garment, surface, etc., to increase its resistance, as to water, moths, mildew, etc.

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

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for repellent

Contemporary Examples of repellent

Historical Examples of repellent

British Dictionary definitions for repellent


  1. giving rise to disgust or aversion; distasteful or repulsive
  2. driving or forcing away or back; repelling
noun Also: repellant
  1. something, esp a chemical substance, that repelsinsect repellent
  2. 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 repellent

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

repellent in Medicine


  1. Capable of driving off or repelling.
  1. 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.