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repellent (adj.)

also repellant, "having the effect of repelling," 1640s, from Latin repellentem (nominative repelens), present participle of repellere (see repel). Originally of medicines that reduce tumors; the meaning "morally repelling, repulsive, distasteful, disagreeable" is recorded by 1797.

That is repellent which keeps one at arm's length ; that is repulsive from which one recoils ; that is, the second is a much stronger word. [Fowler, 1926]

By 1805 in the specific sense of "capable of repelling water, impervious to moisture." 

repellent (n.)

also repellant, 1660s, "agent or medicine that reduces tumors," from repellent (adj.). As "substance that repels insects," 1908.

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Definitions of repellent from WordNet
1
repellent (n.)
a compound with which fabrics are treated to repel water;
Synonyms: repellant
repellent (n.)
a chemical substance that repels animals;
Synonyms: repellant
repellent (n.)
the power to repel;
she knew many repellents to his advances
Synonyms: repellant
2
repellent (adj.)
serving or tending to repel;
I find his obsequiousness repellent
Synonyms: rebarbative / repellant
repellent (adj.)
highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust;
the idea of eating meat is repellent to me
Synonyms: disgusting / disgustful / distasteful / foul / loathly / loathsome / repellant / repelling / revolting / skanky / wicked / yucky
repellent (adj.)
incapable of absorbing or mixing with;
a water-repellent fabric
Synonyms: resistant
From wordnet.princeton.edu