Advertisement

refuse (v.)

c. 1300, "reject, spurn, decline" a request, demand, invitation, etc.; also intransitive, "to make refusal;" from Old French refuser "reject, disregard, avoid" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *refusare, a frequentative verb from the past-participle stem of Latin refundere "give back, restore, return," literally "pour back, flow back," from re- "back" (see re-) + fundere "to pour" (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour").

The intransitive meaning "refuse to do something" is from late 14c.; that of "fail to comply" is from 1520s (originally of horses); that of "repudiate, disown, disavow" is attested from early 15c. but now is obsolete. Nares reports that God refuse me! was "formerly a fashionable imprecation." Related: Refused; refusing

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

refuse (n.)

mid-14c., "an outcast;" mid-14c., "a rejected thing, waste material, trash," from Old French refus "waste product, rubbish; refusal, denial, rejection," a back-formation from the past participle of refuser "reject, disregard, avoid" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *refusare, frequentative form from past participle stem of Latin refundere "give back, restore, return," literally "pour back, flow back," from re- "back" (see re-) + fundere "to pour" (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour"). As an adjective in English from late 14c., "despised, rejected;" early 15c., "of low quality."

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of refuse from WordNet
1
refuse (v.)
show unwillingness towards;
Synonyms: decline
refuse (v.)
refuse to accept;
He refused my offer of hospitality
Synonyms: reject / pass up / turn down / decline
refuse (v.)
elude, especially in a baffling way;
Synonyms: defy / resist
refuse (v.)
refuse to let have;
Synonyms: deny
refuse (v.)
resist immunologically the introduction of some foreign tissue or organ;
Synonyms: resist / reject
refuse (v.)
refuse entrance or membership;
Synonyms: reject / turn down / turn away
2
refuse (n.)
food that is discarded (as from a kitchen);
Synonyms: garbage / food waste / scraps
From wordnet.princeton.edu