What is the Difference Between "Refute" and "Repudiate"?

ESL speakers and writers often confuse the verbs refute and repudiate because both words imply nonacceptance. Look at below sentences:

  • Incorrect: A skilled defense lawyer has many techniques that can repudiate the evidence against you. 
  • Correct: A skilled defense lawyer has many techniques that can refute the evidence against you.

Avoid the trap of muddling up refute and repudiate. Note that refute means to disprove a statement by argument or proof while repudiate means to dispute a statement without using argument or evidence. 

Refute (rebut

  • He refuted the charges of using the company's money to fund his business. 
  • Use evidence to confirm or refute witness statements.
  • It does not offer direct proof to refute the allegations in the complaint.

Repudiate (deny, reject

  • He repudiated the charges that he had tried to deceive them.
  • Alexa repudiated her charges against him and stated that she had made the charges falsely in a fit of anger.
  • In this town, a husband could repudiate his wife however blameless she might have been. 
Designed by Neil Yamit