verb (used with object), re·fused, re·fus·ing.

  1. to decline to accept (something offered): to refuse an award.
  2. to decline to give; deny (a request, demand, etc.): to refuse permission.
  3. to express a determination not to (do something): to refuse to discuss the question.
  4. to decline to submit to.
  5. (of a horse) to decline to leap over (a barrier).
  6. to decline to accept (a suitor) in marriage.
  7. Military. to bend or curve back (the flank units of a military force) so that they face generally to the flank rather than the front.
  8. Obsolete. to renounce.

verb (used without object), re·fused, re·fus·ing.

  1. to decline acceptance, consent, or compliance.


  1. (tr) to decline to accept (something offered)to refuse a present; to refuse promotion
  2. to decline to give or grant (something) to (a person, organization, etc)
  3. (when tr, takes an infinitive) to express determination not (to do something); declinehe refuses to talk about it
  4. (of a horse) to be unwilling to take (a jump), as by swerving or stopping
  5. (tr) (of a woman) to declare one’s unwillingness to accept (a suitor) as a husband


    1. anything thrown away; waste; rubbish
    2. (as modifier)a refuse collection

c.1300, from Old French refuser “reject, disregard, avoid” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *refusare, frequentative form from past participle stem of Latin refundere “pour back, give back” (see refund (v.)). Related: Refused; refusing.


mid-14c., “an outcast;” mid-14c., “a rejected thing, waste material, trash,” from Old French refus “waste product, rubbish; refusal, denial, rejection,” a back-formation from the past participle of refuser (see refuse (v.)). As an adjective from late 14c., “despised, rejected;” early 15c., “of low quality.”

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