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v. re·cant·ed, re·cant·ing, re·cants
To make a formal retraction or disavowal of (a statement or belief to which one has previously committed oneself).
To make a formal retraction or disavowal of a previously held statement or belief.

[Latin recantāre : re-, re- + cantāre, to sing, frequentative of canere; see kan- in Indo-European roots.]

re′can·ta′tion (rē′kăn-tā′shən) n.
re·cant′er n.



(See also REVERSAL.)

do a 180° turn To do an about-face, to suddenly and completely reverse one’s previous position, approach, or point of view. A circle is 360°; to turn 180° is literally to turn halfway around and face the opposite direction. It is easy to see how this literal turnabout gave rise to the figurative sense of the expression as it is popularly used today.

draw in one’s horns See SUBMISSION.

eat one’s words To retract one’s assertions; to be compelled to take back what one has said; to be forced to back down or eat humble pie, to be humiliated and proven wrong. This expression dates from the 16th century, and will probably be popular for as long as putting one’s foot in one’s mouth is a common practice.

Unguarded words, which, as soon as you have uttered them, you would die to eat. (James Beresford, The Miseries of Human Life, 1806-07)

Indian giver One who recalls a gift, either simply from second thoughts or because of subsequent dissatisfaction with a gift received in return. Early American settlers attributed this practice to the natives. The term is now used primarily among children as a name-calling taunt when one decides to renege on a trade or bargain.

sing a different tune To do or say something different; to change one’s position; to assume a new attitude or express a revised opinion, especially one that is more appropriate and suited to the circumstances at hand; also sing another song. The change in attitude or behavior can be motivated by expediency or, at the other extreme, humbleness. In 1390, John Gower used the phrase in Confessio Amantis.

O thou, which has disseized the Court of France by thy wrong, now shalt thou sing an other song.

The phrase is current today, as is the analogous change one’s tune.

turncoat See BETRAYAL.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.recantation - a disavowal or taking back of a previous assertion
disavowal, disclaimer - denial of any connection with or knowledge of
backdown, climb-down, withdrawal - a retraction of a previously held position


A formal statement of disavowal:


[ˈriːkænˈteɪʃən] Nretractación f


n (of religious belief)Widerruf m; (of statement also)Zurücknahme f
References in classic literature ?
Before she had committed herself by any public profession of eternal friendship for Jane Fairfax, or done more towards a recantation of past prejudices and errors, than saying to Mr.
Every sound of his voice beginning on the old subject stirred her with a terrifying bliss, and she coveted the recantation she feared.
That's not a fair question,' says I, 'after what you have said; however, lest you should think I wait only for a recantation of it, I shall answer you plainly, No, not I; my business is of another kind with you, and I did not expect you would have turned my serious application to you, in my own distracted case, into a comedy.
Within three hours the oakum- headed apparition once more dived into the Leaving Shop, and that night Rogue Riderhood's recantation lay in the post office, addressed under cover to Lizzie Hexam at her right address.
All that had been said before had sounded so like a recantation that these words were too great a shock.
Recantation, repudiation, or correction of false testimony are not
The state bar action against Jackson was instigated in 2014 after the Innocence Project filed a complaint based in part on Webb's recantation.
Mr Tayeb added: "It's unfortunate as he was going to do a public recantation of a statement he made 27 years ago.
Following his re-election last week, the prime minister suggested he hasn't changed his position on the two-state solution, leaving some to argue that his pre-election recantation was merely a political ploy.
Carter was briefly freed in 1976 after the guilty verdicts were overturned, but he was again convicted in the same year, as one of the prosecution witnesses withdrew his recantation, the report added.
Chapter 3 traces the difficult paradoxes of identity enacted by Thomas Cranmer's recantation, on the occasion of his martyrdom, of the previous recantation he had made in hopes of avoiding that occasion: which writing is the real Cranmer?
A lawmaker has filed a bill providing for the speedy and effective perpetuation of testimonies of vital witnesses in the prosecution of criminal offenses to prevent recantation or substantial alteration.