Definition of renege in US English:


(also renegue)


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

    ‘the administration had reneged on its election promises’
    • ‘The present dispute originates in the government reneging on promises made in the 1997 settlement.’
    • ‘An hour ago your investor reneged on his promised half million.’
    • ‘Hospital authorities promised to pay up, after protests two months ago, but then reneged on the commitment.’
    • ‘She said sponsors were reneging on an earlier agreement to hold the rally elsewhere.’
    • ‘Now the government is reneging on that commitment, to provide jobs for the boys.’
    • ‘And in spring 2001, it finally reneged on the offer altogether and blamed the federal government.’
    • ‘Competition thwarted this cartel when members reneged on the deal, exceeding their quotas.’
    • ‘Now, apparently, it's okay if a company reneges on a pension commitment.’
    • ‘The mayor has in practice reneged on the deal by moving the Roma people but not fully subsidising the rent in the new houses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The government re-established control and reneged on the monarch's promise.’
    • ‘The life insurer was forced last week to renege on its pledge.’
    • ‘Older workers were among the first fired, and some hard-pressed corporations reneged on pension promises.’
    • ‘To appease unions, he reneged on promised labor-market reforms.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The management agreed to increase salaries by 10 percent but then reneged and transferred the activists.’
    • ‘A new theory predicts when countries will honor or renege on their international obligations.’
    • ‘You reneged on your end of the deal when you started digging into my past.’
    • ‘What's a nonprofit to do when a donor reneges on a pledge?’
    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)
      • ‘To this C reneges his 5 (his privilege) and plays the 8 of diamonds (now the worst card in his hand) instead.’
      • ‘If a player reneges his/her team is penalized 4 points.’
    2. 1.2archaic with object Renounce or abandon (someone or something).
      • ‘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’.