Reminder: ‘Rebut’ And ‘Refute’ Do Not Mean The Same Thing

This has come up again, so here’s a refresher.

- Rebut: “To contradict … or oppose, esp. in a formal manner by argument, proof, etc. as in a debate.” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)

- Refute: “To prove (a person) to be wrong; confute. … To prove (an argument or statement) to be false or wrong, by argument or evidence.” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)

In almost all cases, when politicians are talking about something they’ve been accused of doing, they’re “rebutting” the charges.

Occasionally they may also repudiate. That is, “to refuse to have anything to do with. … To refuse to accept or support. … To deny the truth of.” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary)

By the way, we still don’t endorse this word:

- Refudiate: “Verb used loosely to mean ‘reject’: she called on them to refudiate the proposal to build a mosque.” (H/T to Sarah Palin and the Oxford American Dictionary.)

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with the simple word “denied.”

(“Memmos;” Feb. 16, 2018)

February 16, 2018

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