Definition of renege in English:


(also renegue)

Pronunciation /rɪˈneɪɡ//rɪˈniːɡ/


[no object]
  • 1Go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract.

    ‘the government had reneged on its election promises’
    • ‘An hour ago your investor reneged on his promised half million.’
    • ‘And in spring 2001, it finally reneged on the offer altogether and blamed the federal government.’
    • ‘The present dispute originates in the government reneging on promises made in the 1997 settlement.’
    • ‘Now the government is reneging on that commitment, to provide jobs for the boys.’
    • ‘The life insurer was forced last week to renege on its pledge.’
    • ‘The mayor has in practice reneged on the deal by moving the Roma people but not fully subsidising the rent in the new houses.’
    • ‘You reneged on your end of the deal when you started digging into my past.’
    • ‘Older workers were among the first fired, and some hard-pressed corporations reneged on pension promises.’
    • ‘It has reneged on many international treaties and at present it is busy concluding bilateral treaties with many countries to ensure that its own war criminals will never face the international court of justice.’
    • ‘To appease unions, he reneged on promised labor-market reforms.’
    • ‘The management agreed to increase salaries by 10 percent but then reneged and transferred the activists.’
    • ‘Hospital authorities promised to pay up, after protests two months ago, but then reneged on the commitment.’
    • ‘Competition thwarted this cartel when members reneged on the deal, exceeding their quotas.’
    • ‘A new theory predicts when countries will honor or renege on their international obligations.’
    • ‘The government re-established control and reneged on the monarch's promise.’
    • ‘What's a nonprofit to do when a donor reneges on a pledge?’
    • ‘Now, apparently, it's okay if a company reneges on a pension commitment.’
    • ‘She said sponsors were reneging on an earlier agreement to hold the rally elsewhere.’
    • ‘They feel management have reneged on an agreement to have two nurses on night shift in emergency.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the congregation in Manitoba reneged on their offer and this man was ordained without charge, meaning he was officially a minister, but had no place to go.’
    default on, fail to honour, go back on, break, back out of, pull out of, withdraw from, retreat from, welsh on, backtrack on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for revoke (sense 2)
      • ‘If a player reneges his/her team is penalized 4 points.’
      • ‘To this C reneges his 5 (his privilege) and plays the 8 of diamonds (now the worst card in his hand) instead.’
    2. 1.2archaic with object Renounce or abandon.
      ‘there's one of them, anyhow, that didn't renege him’
      • ‘The treaty and peace terms in favor of Haidar Ali were shamelessly reneged by the British and soon a second Mysore war ensued from 1780 to 1784.’


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘desert’): from medieval Latin renegare, from Latin re- (expressing intensive force) + negare ‘deny’.