Rebut vs refute

Photo of author


Rebut means to argue against something, to offer a counterargument. Related terms are rebuts, rebutted, rebutting, rebuttal, rebuttable. Rebut comes into the English language in the early 1300s from the Old French word reboter meaning to thrust back, to butt.

Refute means to prove that a statement or a concept is incorrect, to disprove an argument or idea. Related terms are refutes, refuted, refuting, refutal, refutable, refuter. Refute comes into the English language in the 1540s for the meaning to prove wrong, from the Middle French word réfuter and the Latin word refutare meaning drive back; rebut, disprove, oppose. Remember, rebut means to make an argument against an idea, whether or not that argument is correct. Refute means to successfully prove an idea is wrong.


They were there to rebut the school’s own report on its 10-month investigation into systemic sexual abuse by several staff members and students at the school during that time period, and seek an independent investigation. (The Providence Journal)

According to the source, he wanted to rebut what Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his presidential address as well as during the winding-up speech. (The Straits Times)

Referencing the Daily Observer story titled, “I Carry An American Passport”, TCL said in its rebuttal that at no time did the Daily Observer newspaper contact “Mr. Cummings or Team Cummings for Liberia for their side of the story but chose instead to quote unknown and anonymous sources throughout their report.” (The Liberian Daily Observer)

The party has come out with a FAQ format clarification on its website to rebut allegations by finance minister Arun Jaitley on National Herald issue. (The Asian Age)

The lawyer for a Port Huron woman charged in the killing of her 5-year-old stepdaughter has asked to add a defense witness who would refute the cause of the girl’s death. (The Times Herald)

Chennai floods: Tamil Nadu political parties refute chief secretary’s statement on water release (The Times of India)

The 25 lawmakers of Adamawa State House of Assembly, on Monday, refuted and distance the entire leadership of the house of any move or attempt to impeach Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla Umaru Bindow. (The Daily Times of Nigeria)

There has been no refutal from official quarters about the proceedings and it cannot be that these officers of Government are blissfully unaware that their assertion can be prejudicial to the case of the accused. (The Vanguard)