refuse

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun rubbish or other forms of waste

Commerce

  • verb to say that you will not do something or will not accept something

Military

  • verb to position one end of a line of defence back at an angle to the main frontage, in order to meet the threat of a flanking attack or envelopment

Origin & History of “refuse”

Refuse comes via Old French refuser from an unrecorded vulgar Latin *refūsāre. It is not altogether clear where this came from, for it has no direct Latin antecedent. One theory is that it represents a blend of Latin recūsāre ‘refuse’ (source of English recusant (16th c.)), a compound verb based on causa ‘cause’, and refūtāre ‘rebut’ (source of English refute (16th c.)), a compound verb based on the element *fūt-, found also in English confute (16th c.). But another long-established school of thought derives it from refūsus, the past participle of Latin refundere ‘pour back’ (source of English refund (14th c.)) – the underlying notion being of something ‘poured back’ or ‘rejected’. The noun refuse ‘rubbish’ (15th c.) probably comes from Old French refus ‘refusal’, a derivative of refuser ‘refuse’.
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