refute (v.) 1510s, "refuse, reject," from L. refutare "drive back, repress, repel, rebut," from re- "back" (see RE- (Cf. re-)) + -futare "to beat," probably from PIE root *bhat- "to strike down" (Cf. BAT (Cf. bat) (n.1)). Meaning "prove wrong" dates from 1540s. Since c.1964 linguists have frowned on the subtle shift in meaning towards "to deny," as it is used in connection with allegation. Related: Refuted; refuting.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Refute — Re*fute (r?*F3t ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Refuted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Refuting}.] [F. r[ e]futer, L. refuteare to repel, refute. Cf. {Confute}, {Refuse} to deny.] To disprove and overthrow by argument, evidence, or countervailing proof; to prove to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • refute — means ‘to prove (something) false by argument’, and the element ‘by argument’ is important; it should not be used simply as an alternative for deny or repudiate(or in some cases reject or dispute) which imply straightforward rejection without… …   Modern English usage

  • réfuté — réfuté, ée (ré fu té, tée) part. passé de réfuter. Argument réfuté vingt fois …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • refute — ► VERB 1) prove (a statement or the person advancing it) to be wrong. 2) deny (a statement or accusation). DERIVATIVES refutable adjective refutation noun. USAGE Strictly speaking, refute means ‘prove (a statement) to be wrong’, although it is… …   English terms dictionary

  • refute — I verb abnegate, belie, cancel, confute, contend, contradict, contravene, controvert, crush, debate, defeat, demolish, deny, destroy, disaffirm, disclaim, discredit, dispose of, disprove, explode, falsify, gainsay, impugn, invalidate, negate,… …   Law dictionary

  • refute — confute, rebut, *disprove, controvert Analogous words: contradict, impugn, traverse, negative, contravene (see DENY) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • refute — [v] prove false; discredit abnegate, argue against, blow sky high*, break, burn, burn down, cancel, cancel out, confute, contend, contradict, contravene, convict, counter, crush, debate, demolish, disclaim, disconfirm, dispose of, disprove,… …   New thesaurus

  • refuté — Refuté, [refut]ée. part …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • refute — [ri fyo͞ot′] vt. refuted, refuting [L refutare, to repel, check: see RE & CONFUTE] 1. to prove (a person) to be wrong; confute 2. to prove (an argument or statement) to be false or wrong, by argument or evidence 3. to deny the truth or validity… …   English World dictionary

  • refute — [[t]rɪfju͟ːt[/t]] refutes, refuting, refuted 1) VERB If you refute an argument, accusation, or theory, you prove that it is wrong or untrue. [FORMAL] [V n] It was the kind of rumour that it is impossible to refute. Syn: disprove 2) VERB If you… …   English dictionary

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