The word has never quite lost this connotation of standing on the defensive and rebutting criticism; e.g.
Most of the literature evoked by the controversy on either side was devoted to rebutting the attack of some individual opponent.
Of his two capital errors, regarding respectively the theory of the tides and the nature of comets, the first was insidiously recommended to him by his passionate desire to find a physical confirmation of the earth's double motion; the second was adopted for the purpose of rebutting an anti-Copernican argument founded on the planetary analogies of those erratic subjects of the sun.
In this way, the attributes are suggestively allotted among the four traditional proofs; 7 but we miss an explicit rebutting of Kant's hostile assumption, that it is incompetent for us to take the thought of God piecemeal.
Accused of violating treaties, breaking oaths, persecuting the church and abetting heresy, Frederick replied by an open letter rebutting these charges, and in equally unmeasured terms denounced the arrogance and want of faith of the clergy from the pope downwards.