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See more synonyms for repulse on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), re·pulsed, re·puls·ing.
  1. to drive back; repel: to repulse an assailant.
  2. to repel with denial, discourtesy, or the like; refuse or reject.
  3. to cause feelings of repulsion in: The scenes of violence in the film may repulse some viewers.
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  1. the act of repelling.
  2. the fact of being repelled, as in hostile encounter.
  3. a refusal or rejection.
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Origin of repulse

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin repulsus, past participle of repellere to repel
Related formsre·puls·er, nounun·re·pulsed, adjectiveun·re·puls·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for repulse

Historical Examples

  • She could feel its false precision, its intention, its repulse of her.

    Life and Death of Harriett Frean

    May Sinclair

  • So desperate was my case, I was resolved not to stop even at this repulse.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Burnside's repulse at Fredericksburg was followed by a discouraging retreat.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

  • Not all my kicks and cuffs and beatings had sufficed one whit to repulse him.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It cost her an effort to repulse him, and the effort was not very convincing.

British Dictionary definitions for repulse


verb (tr)
  1. to drive back or ward off (an attacking force); repel; rebuff
  2. to reject with coldness or discourtesyshe repulsed his advances
  3. to produce a feeling of aversion or distaste
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  1. the act or an instance of driving back or warding off; rebuff
  2. a cold discourteous rejection or refusal
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Derived Formsrepulser, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin repellere to drive back, repel


Some people think that the use of repulse in sentences such as he was repulsed by what he saw is incorrect and that the correct word is repel
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 repulse


early 15c., from Latin repulsus, past participle of repellere "drive back, reject" (see repel). Related: Repulsed; repulsing.

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1530s, from Latin repulsa "refusal, denial," noun use of fem. past participle of repellere (see repel).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper