An example of refute is to argue against the statement that the world is flat.
transitive verb-·fut′ed, -·fut′ing
- to prove (a person) to be wrong; confute
- to prove (an argument or statement) to be false or wrong, by argument or evidence
- to deny the truth or validity of: usage objected to by some
Origin of refuteClassical Latin refutare, to repel, check: see re- and confute
transitive verbre·fut·ed, re·fut·ing, re·futes
- To prove to be false or erroneous; overthrow by argument or proof: refute testimony.
- To deny the accuracy or truth of: refuted the results of the poll.
- Usage Problem To repudiate.
Origin of refuteLatin refūtāre ; see bhau- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: Traditionally, the verb refute has two meanings. The first is “to prove to be false or erroneous,” as in Charges of institutional bias against women were refuted by an analysis of the employment data. In this example, it is clear that an argument was mustered to demonstrate the falsity of the charges. This usage is well established as standard. The second meaning is “to deny the accuracy of,” and in this use there is no mention or implication of mustering evidence or detailed reasoning. Rather, the refutation exists as a simple statement or claim. This second use has been criticized as incorrect or inappropriate since the early 1900s, despite being common. A majority of the Usage Panel accepts the use as a synonym of deny, but not by a wide margin. In our 2002 survey, 62 percent accepted the example In the press conference, the senator categorically refuted the charges of malfeasance but declined to go into details. This suggests that many readers are uncomfortable with this usage and would prefer to see deny in these contexts. Beyond these two meanings, refute is sometimes used to mean “to deny the validity of, repudiate,” as in Observers are expecting the appeals court to refute the Microsoft breakup. The Panel has scant affection for this usage. Some 89 percent rejected the example just quoted in the 2002 survey.
(third-person singular simple present refutes, present participle refuting, simple past and past participle refuted)
The second meaning of refute (to deny the truth of) is proscribed as erroneous by some (compare Merriam Webster,1994). An alternative term with such a meaning is repudiate, which means to reject or refuse to acknowledge, but without the implication of justification. However, this distinction does not exist in the original Latin refÅ«tÅ (“oppose, resist, rebut"), which can apply to both senses.
From Latin refÅ«tÅ