Definition of disavow in English:



  • Deny any responsibility or support for.

    ‘he appears to be in denial of his own past, which he continually disavows’
    • ‘Many became ill and suffered permanent symptoms, but the government disavowed responsibility for them because they were civilians.’
    • ‘The child copes by disavowing her earlier German-Jewish identity by becoming English and changing her name to Evelyn.’
    • ‘As an artist, he has knowingly signed forged drawings and disavows responsibility for his sometimes salacious subject matter.’
    • ‘Trans Continental claims a Superior Court judge had approved the contract when it was signed - therefore, it cannot be disavowed now.’
    • ‘The bottom line: both ABC News and the Washington Post are now disavowing any claim that the alleged ‘talking points memo’ was authored by a Republican, let alone that it was some kind of official Republican strategy memo.’
    • ‘I detect a David Lynchian coyness here - Lynch is famous for disavowing any complex or psychologized readings of his work.’
    • ‘What's more, Clark added, ‘the administration's never disavowed this intent.’’
    • ‘Wilson he was forced to lie and the diocese produces a signed statement disavowing his involvement in the letter.’
    • ‘The mainstream Mormon church has disavowed it.’
    • ‘The least interesting aspect of this article is where it tautologically notes that Blair is disavowing such a connection.’
    • ‘The keyhole supposedly provides a kind of voyeuristic pleasure in observing while being unobserved, but this pleasure is predicated on disavowing the possibility that the object of spectatorship is aware of your gaze.’
    • ‘In the election of 1920, the nation chose to elevate Warren G. Harding and his gang of crooked friends to power, disavowing Wilson, the League, and the Treaty of Versailles.’
    • ‘The incoming chair has the opportunity to establish a new learning history with these faculty members by disavowing the relevance of the past issues and introducing new, achievable expectations.’
    • ‘So, while not disavowing the memo should your Democratic staff on the select committee be taking that as a straightforward admonition?’
    • ‘Well in that case, Mr Annan, you'd better start by disavowing yourself and your odious organisation.’
    • ‘In light of my research into the Reagan administration's democracy promotion policies, I have long been concerned that conservatives would pay lip service to democratization while disavowing it in practice.’
    • ‘But it isn't just the hard right that's disavowing Wilson.’
    • ‘Unlike many, Bunyan didn't end up disavowing the hippie philosophy.’
    • ‘Murray isn't really backing off; she says that her remarks were ‘off the cuff,’ but hasn't disavowed them.’
    • ‘Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, its advocates are now increasingly disavowing any intention of adding intelligent design to science curricula.’
    deny, disclaim, disown, wash one's hands of
    reject, repudiate
    contradict, rebut, abjure, renounce, forswear, eschew
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Late Middle English: from Old French desavouer.