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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.
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.
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.
All that had been said before had sounded so like a recantation that these words were too great a shock.
In the latter (arguably more crucial half) of Finkelstein's section on the controversial judge, he emphasizes that Goldstone stood alone in his recantation.
Elliots recantation was dismissed because of a fake news story that said that the Boston Globe reporter who had broken the story of Elliots recantation had been commissioned to write the foreword to the Kerry-Edwards campaign book.
Judge Richard Samuels, however, believed the recantation to be "implausible" and denied clemency after a three-day hearing.
Continue reading "The Recantation of Albert Maltz: A Pre-History of PC Stalinism" at.
One of the girls later produced a videotaped recantation and confessed to having fabricated the accusations due to pressure from Perez.
Villanueva stressed that even if the police officer took back his statement, which implicated the respondent in the killing of Pastor, Angel's recantation didn't necessarily dispel his earlier statements "since like any other testimonies, they are subject to the test of credibility.
55) The court affirmed the trial court's evidentiary ruling because the Johnsons failed to establish that there was a "likelihood, or even [a] possibility, of a recantation.