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refuse - definition and synonyms


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verb refuse pronunciation in American English /rɪˈfjuz/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlerefusing
past tenserefused
past participlerefused
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to say you will not do something that someone has asked you to do

    Mom asked him to apologize, but he refused.

    refuse to do something:

    How could he refuse to help his own son?

    flatly refuse (=refuse in a firm and sometimes impolite way):

    Senior executives flatly refused to comment as they left the meeting.

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  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to say that you do not want what someone has offered to you

    It seemed impolite to refuse when she invited me for dinner.

    Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    [transitive] to not give someone what they ask for, or to not let someone do what they ask to do

    Some landowners refuse permission to use footpaths on their land.

    refuse someone something:

    Judge Mackey refused the defendant the right to appeal.


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