Definition of rebuff in English:



  • Reject (someone or something) in an abrupt or ungracious manner.

    ‘I asked her to be my wife, and was rebuffed in no uncertain terms’
    • ‘A draft Department of Defence letter rebuffing the president was never sent.’
    • ‘After rebuffing him, Gregory alleged, the pundit retaliated by reducing his pay and subsequently firing him.’
    • ‘Clay's efforts to locate and fix her image are rebuffed in a weary kind of manner.’
    • ‘Rejecting businesses associated with poor human rights and unfair labour practices lost it £847,000 and rebuffing organisations involved in the production of problematic chemicals cost £688,000.’
    • ‘You know, I can say in response to this column, that for 20 years the Democrats have been rebuffing one part of the progressive agenda after another.’
    • ‘However the department has rebuffed calls to criminalise those who refuse to obey the law.’
    • ‘Values that embrace social solidarity and participation were indignantly rebuffed by the new culture.’
    • ‘For the next two hours, the bold captain stayed below, eating and drinking, rebuffing nervous passengers and becoming more and more brusque and abusive to anyone who remonstrated with him.’
    • ‘The first attempt to storm the parliament was rebuffed by a volley of police tear gas.’
    • ‘However even he had given up hope after Ferguson had rebuffed his many attempts at getting him to postpone his retirement.’
    • ‘In fact, in a speech spanning an entire four sentences, she dedicated half of it to rebuffing the cynics.’
    • ‘Even recent approaches by the US were rebuffed or sidetracked by the Indonesian government.’
    • ‘Kurdish politicians were defiant, rebuffing the Shi'ite alliance's attempts to blame them for the deadlock.’
    • ‘Liberal Democrats are often categorised as soft on crime and are used to rebuffing accusations of being soft on terrorism.’
    • ‘Its wrath, had it been rebuffed, was potentially catastrophic.’
    • ‘At times, the nightclub singer doesn't seem to like it much either, rebuffing the painter, only to fall back into her arms.’
    • ‘He said the party represented a threat to the country and urged people to reclaim the Republic by rebuffing the party in the elections.’
    • ‘We tried desperately to obtain such an electoral pact with the Greens before the election, but we were rebuffed on every occasion.’
    • ‘Cooley appeared in person in May to appeal that decision, but his entreaty was rebuffed.’
    • ‘The one attempt he makes to talk to her is rebuffed yet he's still stricken to learn she committed suicide.’
    reject, turn down, spurn, refuse, decline, repudiate, disdain
    snub, slight, repulse, repel, dismiss, brush off, turn one's back on
    give someone the cold shoulder, cold-shoulder, ignore, look right through
    give someone the brush-off, tell someone where to get off, put down, freeze out, stiff-arm
    knock back
    give someone the bum's rush, give someone the brush
    give someone the go-by
    View synonyms


  • An abrupt or ungracious refusal or rejection of an offer, request, or friendly gesture.

    ‘any attempt to win her friendship was met with rebuffs’
    • ‘Sensitive to the alleged and often real rebuffs of friends, but also to the demands of ecclesiastical authority, he was often at its mercy.’
    • ‘This denial was an embarrassing rebuff for the Australian government.’
    • ‘In what will be seen as a clear rebuff to the second request, Mr Kenny said that delaying the €176 million project until after Christmas was simply not an option.’
    • ‘He just laughs and makes a joke out of an intended rebuff.’
    • ‘After several rebuffs, Yeda offered to pay for the cost of localization.’
    • ‘It might have helped if the person who fielded all our claims had been slightly less triumphant in the tone of her standard rebuff.’
    • ‘It takes effort to refuse, and besides, there's always the danger that the refusal will be interpreted as a rebuff, a betrayal of religion, and a calloused disregard for people in need.’
    • ‘The attempts by some shortsighted commanders to confine themselves to training and to leave education to officers of educational structures have met with a resolute rebuff.’
    • ‘It could have been a rebuff to what may have been perceived as the BBC's audacious judicial stance, but several of those organisations who refused have since had athletes banned or under suspicion.’
    • ‘Despite my polite rebuff, Adam returned to my cell door a week later and eagerly divulged his deplorable obsession.’
    • ‘General readers who have stayed this far will not be surprised that, in the face of such a blatant rebuff, the Reserve Bank did nothing.’
    • ‘On a still and empty stage three men appear at the mercy of constant rebuffs.’
    • ‘In an ironic rebuff to communications technologies, the bill passed the Senate by unanimous, oral vote.’
    • ‘Their joint assertion was a rebuff to the imperialists.’
    • ‘The vote - 322 against, 291 for - was a devastating rebuff.’
    • ‘Such an attitude expects no rebuffs and overlooks those it provokes.’
    • ‘This rebuff spurred them to think of an alternative.’
    • ‘As a rebuff to those who think today's teenagers are too narrow-minded, Umay's concerns are notably wide-ranging.’
    • ‘Menzies' amendment was seen by some as a rebuff to the ‘non-aligned’ states.’
    • ‘According to Apter, the mother-in-law is genuinely bewildered by her daughter-in-law's rebuffs of friendship.’
    rejection, snub, slight, repulse, cut
    refusal, spurning, repudiation, repulsion, cold-shouldering, discouragement
    brush-off, knock-back, put-down, kick in the teeth, slap in the face, smack in the face, smack in the eye
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from obsolete French rebuffer (verb), rebuffe (noun), from Italian ri- (expressing opposition) + buffo a gust, puff of imitative origin.