See more synonyms for repel 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.
  3. to resist effectively (an attack, onslaught, etc.).
  4. to keep off or out; fail to mix with: Water and oil repel each other.
  5. to resist the absorption or passage of (water or other liquid): This coat repels rain.
  6. to refuse to have to do with; resist involvement in: to repel temptation.
  7. to refuse to accept or admit; reject: to repel a suggestion.
  8. to discourage the advances of (a person): He repelled me with his harshness.
  9. to cause distaste or aversion in: Their untidy appearance repelled us.
  10. 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
Related formsre·pel·lence, re·pel·len·cy, nounre·pel·ler, nounre·pel·ling·ly, adverbre·pel·ling·ness, nounnon·re·pel·lence, nounnon·re·pel·len·cy, nounnon·re·pel·ler, nounself-re·pel·len·cy, nounun·re·pelled, adjective

Synonyms for repel

See more synonyms for on
1. repulse, parry, ward off. 3. withstand, oppose, rebuff. 7. decline, rebuff.

Antonyms for repel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for repelling

scattering, dispersing

Examples from the Web for repelling

Historical Examples of repelling

  • "I am better alone," said Ellen, with a repelling motion of the hand.

    The Elm Tree Tales

    F. Irene Burge Smith

  • Chet felt the lift of the Repelling Area as they shot through.

    The Finding of Haldgren

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • It was not that he was cold and distant, repelling familiarity and refusing sympathy.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

  • Is not that a very cold and repelling answer to the good vicar's letter?

    A Rent In A Cloud

    Charles James Lever

  • But, in this case, what had been his reason for repelling her at first and making her suffer so long?

British Dictionary definitions for repelling


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)
  3. to push aside; dismisshe repelled the suggestion as wrong and impossible
  4. to be effective in keeping away, controlling, or resistingan aerosol spray that repels flies
  5. to have no affinity for; fail to mix with or absorbwater and oil repel each other
  6. to disdain to accept (something); turn away from or spurnshe repelled his advances
  7. (also intr) to exert an opposing force on (something)an electric charge repels another charge of the same sign
Derived Formsrepeller, noun

Word Origin for repel

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


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 repelling



early 15c., "to drive away, remove," from Old French repeller or directly from Latin repellere "to drive back," from re- "back" (see re-) + pellere "to drive, strike" (see pulse (n.1)). Meaning "to affect (a person) with distaste or aversion" is from 1817. Related: Repelled; repelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper