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 argument. In the first of the following examples refute is used appropriately, whereas in the second it is not:

• The criticisms…that Ruskin saw architecture only two-dimensionally, and that he never seems to have looked at a building structurally, are refuted with ample quotations —Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, 1979

• ☒ I refute Mr Bodey's allegation that it is our policy not to observe publication dates —Bookseller, 1980

A following that-clause is a sure sign that refute is being used wrongly:

• ☒ While economics professor Fred Gottheil admitted that the nation is experiencing an economic dip, he refuted that the economy is in a recession —Language Log, AmE 2004 [OEC].

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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

  • 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 — (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 …   Etymology 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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