transitive verb re·pulsed
- To drive back; repel.
- To rebuff or reject with rudeness, coldness, or denial.
- Usage Problem To cause repugnance or distaste in.
- The act of repulsing or the state of being repulsed.
- Rejection; refusal.
Origin: Middle English repulsen
Origin: , from Latin repellere, repuls-; see repel
Related Forms:Usage Note:
A number of critics have maintained that repulse
should only be used to mean “to drive away, spurn,” as in He rudely repulsed their overtures,
and not to mean “to cause repulsion in,” as in Their hypocrisy repulsed me.
In recent years, however, there has been an increasing tendency to use repulse
in the latter sense. Reputable literary precedent exists for this usage, and given that the stigmatized use of repulse
is parallel to the unexceptionable uses of repulsion
the frequency of its appearance is not surprising. Still, writers who want to avoid repulse
may choose repel,
a synonym that is perfectly acceptable.