Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

re·fuse 1

v. re·fused, re·fus·ing, re·fus·es
a. To indicate unwillingness to do, accept, give, or allow: She was refused admittance. He refused treatment.
b. To indicate unwillingness (to do something): refused to leave.
2. To decline to jump (an obstacle). Used of a horse.
To decline to do, accept, give, or allow something.

[Middle English refusen, from Old French refuser, from Vulgar Latin *refūsāre, probably blend of Latin recūsāre, to refuse; see recuse, and Latin refūtāre, refute; see refute.]

re·fus′er n.
Synonyms: refuse1, decline, reject, spurn, rebuff
These verbs mean to be unwilling to accept, consider, or receive someone or something. Refuse implies determination and often brusqueness: "The commander ... refused to discuss questions of right" (George Bancroft)."I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" (Mario Puzo).
To decline is to refuse politely: "I declined election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters ... and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize" (Sinclair Lewis).
Reject suggests the discarding of someone or something as defective or useless; it implies categoric refusal: "He again offered himself for enlistment and was again rejected" (Arthur S.M. Hutchinson).
To spurn is to reject scornfully or contemptuously: "The more she spurns my love, / The more it grows" (Shakespeare).
Rebuff pertains to blunt or disdainful rejection: "He had ... gone too far in his advances, and had been rebuffed" (Robert Louis Stevenson).

ref·use 2

Items or material discarded or rejected as useless or worthless; trash or rubbish.

[Middle English, from Old French refus, rejection, refuse, from refuser, to refuse; see refuse1.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (tr) to decline to accept (something offered): to refuse a present; to refuse promotion.
2. to decline to give or grant (something) to (a person, organization, etc)
3. (when tr, takes an infinitive) to express determination not (to do something); decline: he refuses to talk about it.
4. (Horse Training, Riding & Manège) (of a horse) to be unwilling to take (a jump), as by swerving or stopping
5. (tr) (of a woman) to declare one's unwillingness to accept (a suitor) as a husband
[C14: from Old French refuser, from Latin refundere to pour back; see refund]
reˈfusable adj
reˈfuser n


a. anything thrown away; waste; rubbish
b. (as modifier): a refuse collection.
[C15: from Old French refuser to refuse1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



v. -fused, -fus•ing. v.t.
1. to decline to accept (something offered).
2. to decline to give; deny (a request, demand, etc.).
3. to express a determination not to (do something): to refuse to discuss an issue.
4. to decline to submit to.
5. to decline to accept (a suitor) in marriage.
6. (of a horse) to decline to leap over (a barrier).
7. Obs. to renounce.
8. to decline acceptance, consent, or compliance.
[1300–50; Middle English < Middle French refuser, Old French < Vulgar Latin *refūsāre, perhaps b. Latin recūsāre to demur (see recusant) and refūtāre to refute]
re•fus′a•ble, adj.
re•fus′er, n.
syn: refuse, reject, spurn, decline imply nonacceptance of something. refuse is direct and emphatic in expressing a determination not to accept what is offered or proposed: to refuse an offer of help. reject is even more forceful and definite: to reject an author's manuscript. To spurn is to reject with scorn: to spurn a bribe. decline is a milder and more courteous term: to decline an invitation.


(ˈrɛf yus)

1. something that is discarded as worthless or useless; rubbish; trash; garbage.
2. rejected as worthless; discarded.
[1325–75; Middle English < Middle French; Old French refus denial, rejection]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Refuse can be a verb or a noun. When it is a verb, it is pronounced (/rɪfjuːz/). When it is a noun, it is pronounced (/refjuːs/).

1. used as a verb

If you refuse to do something, you deliberately do not do it, or you say firmly that you will not do it.

He refused to accept their advice.
Three employees were dismissed for refusing to join a union.
2. 'reject'

If you do not agree with an idea or belief, you do not say that you 'refuse' it. You say that you reject it.

Some people reject the idea of a mixed economy.
It was hard for me to reject my family's religious beliefs.
3. used as a noun

Refuse is a noun used to refer to things that you throw away.

...a dump for refuse.
This department is also responsible for refuse collection.

Several other words are used to refer to things that are thrown away.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012


Past participle: refused
Gerund: refusing

I refuse
you refuse
he/she/it refuses
we refuse
you refuse
they refuse
I refused
you refused
he/she/it refused
we refused
you refused
they refused
Present Continuous
I am refusing
you are refusing
he/she/it is refusing
we are refusing
you are refusing
they are refusing
Present Perfect
I have refused
you have refused
he/she/it has refused
we have refused
you have refused
they have refused
Past Continuous
I was refusing
you were refusing
he/she/it was refusing
we were refusing
you were refusing
they were refusing
Past Perfect
I had refused
you had refused
he/she/it had refused
we had refused
you had refused
they had refused
I will refuse
you will refuse
he/she/it will refuse
we will refuse
you will refuse
they will refuse
Future Perfect
I will have refused
you will have refused
he/she/it will have refused
we will have refused
you will have refused
they will have refused
Future Continuous
I will be refusing
you will be refusing
he/she/it will be refusing
we will be refusing
you will be refusing
they will be refusing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been refusing
you have been refusing
he/she/it has been refusing
we have been refusing
you have been refusing
they have been refusing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been refusing
you will have been refusing
he/she/it will have been refusing
we will have been refusing
you will have been refusing
they will have been refusing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been refusing
you had been refusing
he/she/it had been refusing
we had been refusing
you had been refusing
they had been refusing
I would refuse
you would refuse
he/she/it would refuse
we would refuse
you would refuse
they would refuse
Past Conditional
I would have refused
you would have refused
he/she/it would have refused
we would have refused
you would have refused
they would have refused
Collins English Verb Tables © HarperCollins Publishers 2011
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.refuse - food that is discarded (as from a kitchen)refuse - food that is discarded (as from a kitchen)
waste, waste material, waste matter, waste product - any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted; "they collect the waste once a week"; "much of the waste material is carried off in the sewers"
Verb1.refuse - show unwillingness towards; "he declined to join the group on a hike"
react, respond - show a response or a reaction to something
freeze off, spurn, pooh-pooh, disdain, scorn, turn down, reject - reject with contempt; "She spurned his advances"
contract out - refuse to pay a levy to a union for political use
regret - decline formally or politely; "I regret I can't come to the party"
repudiate - refuse to recognize or pay; "repudiate a debt"
disobey - refuse to go along with; refuse to follow; be disobedient; "He disobeyed his supervisor and was fired"
consent, go for, accept - give an affirmative reply to; respond favorably to; "I cannot accept your invitation"; "I go for this resolution"
2.refuse - refuse to acceptrefuse - refuse to accept; "He refused my offer of hospitality"
freeze off, spurn, pooh-pooh, disdain, scorn, turn down, reject - reject with contempt; "She spurned his advances"
dishonor, dishonour - refuse to accept; "dishonor checks and drafts"
bounce - refuse to accept and send back; "bounce a check"
accept, take, have - receive willingly something given or offered; "The only girl who would have him was the miller's daughter"; "I won't have this dog in my house!"; "Please accept my present"
3.refuse - elude, especially in a baffling way; "This behavior defies explanation"
beggar - be beyond the resources of; "This beggars description!"
elude, escape - be incomprehensible to; escape understanding by; "What you are seeing in him eludes me"
4.refuse - refuse to let have; "She denies me every pleasure"; "he denies her her weekly allowance"
keep, hold on - retain possession of; "Can I keep my old stuffed animals?"; "She kept her maiden name after she married"
abnegate, deny - deny oneself (something); restrain, especially from indulging in some pleasure; "She denied herself wine and spirits"
withhold, keep back - hold back; refuse to hand over or share; "The father is withholding the allowance until the son cleans his room"
5.refuse - resist immunologically the introduction of some foreign tissue or organ; "His body rejected the liver of the donor"
react, respond - show a response or a reaction to something
6.refuse - refuse entrance or membershiprefuse - refuse entrance or membership; "They turned away hundreds of fans"; "Black people were often rejected by country clubs"
freeze off, spurn, pooh-pooh, disdain, scorn, turn down, reject - reject with contempt; "She spurned his advances"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. decline, reject, turn down, scorn, spurn, say no to, repudiate I could hardly refuse his invitation.
2. deny, decline, withhold, not grant, discountenance She was refused access to her children.
deny give, allow, agree, accept, approve, permit, consent


noun rubbish, waste, sweepings, junk (informal), litter, garbage, trash, sediment, scum, dross, dregs, leavings, dreck (slang, chiefly U.S.), offscourings, lees a weekly collection of refuse
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. To be unwilling to accept, consider, or receive:
Slang: nix.
Idiom: turn thumbs down on.
2. To be unwilling to grant:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
حُثَالَةقُمامَه، زُبالَهيَرْفُضيَرْفُضُيَرْفُض إعْطاء الإذِن
hafnaneitaneita umrusl
atkritumiatliekasatteiktatteiktiesnedot piekrišanu
ráctừ chối


1 [rɪˈfjuːz]
1. (= decline) [+ offer, chance] → rechazar, rehusar; [+ applicant] → rechazar
it was an offer he couldn't refuseera una oferta que no podía rechazar or rehusar
the patient has the right to refuse treatmentel paciente tiene derecho a negarse a someterse a tratamiento
he was devastated when she refused himestaba desolado cuando ella lo rechazó
she refused their invitation to stay to dinnerrechazó or no aceptó su invitación para quedarse a cenar
he never refuses a drinknunca dice que no a una copa
to refuse to do sth [person] → negarse a hacer algo
he refused to comment after the trialse negó a or rehusó hacer comentarios después del juicio
my legs refused to functionmis piernas se negaban a funcionar
2. (= not grant) [+ request, permission] (gen) → negar; (officially) → denegar
the police refused permission for the marchla policía denegó el permiso or les negó el permiso para hacer la marcha
to refuse sb sth (gen) → negar algo a algn; (officially) → denegar algo a algn
they were refused permission to leaveles negaron autorización para salir
I was refused entry to Malawime denegaron la entrada a Malaui
they can refuse her nothingno le pueden negar nada
1. [person] → negarse
I don't see how I can refuseno veo cómo puedo negarme
2. [horse] → plantarse


2 [ˈrefjuːs]
A. N
1. (= rubbish) → basura f, desperdicios mpl
garden refusedesperdicios mpl del jardín
household refusebasura f doméstica, residuos mpl domésticos
2. (= industrial waste) → desechos mpl, residuos mpl
B. CPD refuse bin Ncubo m or (LAm) bote m or tarro m de la basura
refuse chute Nrampa f de desperdicios, rampa f de la basura
refuse collection Nrecogida f de basura
refuse collector Nbasurero m
refuse disposal Neliminación f de basuras
refuse disposal unit Ntriturador m de basura
refuse dump N = refuse tip refuse lorry Ncamión m de la basura
refuse tip Nvertedero m, basural m (LAm)
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


vt [+ offer, gift, payment] → refuser
to refuse treatment [patient] → refuser le traitement
to refuse permission for sth → refuser d'autoriser qch
to refuse sb sth → refuser qch à qn
to refuse to do sth → refuser de faire qch
[ˈrɛfjuːs] n (= rubbish) → ordures fplrefuse bin [ˈrɛfjuːsbɪn] npoubelle frefuse chute [ˈrɛfjuːsʃuːt] n (in building)vide-ordures m invrefuse collection [ˈrɛfjuːskəlɛkʃən] nramassage m des orduresrefuse collector [ˈrɛfjuːskəlɛktər] néboueur/euse m/frefuse disposal [ˌrɛfjuːsdɪˈspəʊzəl] ntraitement m des orduresrefuse dump [ˈrɛfjuːsdʌmp] ndécharge f (publique)refuse lorry [ˈrɛfjuːslɒri] (British) refuse truck [ˈrɛfjuːstrʌk] (US) nbenne f à ordures
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


in cpdsMüll-;
refuse bin
nMülleimer m
refuse chute
refuse collection
nMüllabfuhr f
refuse collector
nMüllwerker(in) m(f), → Müllmann m (inf)
refuse destructor
nMüllvernichtungsanlage f
refuse disposal
refuse disposal service
nMüllabfuhr f
refuse disposal unit
nMüllzerkleinerer m
refuse dump
refuse lorry
nMüllwagen m


vt candidate, proposal, offerablehnen; invitation alsoabsagen; (stronger) → abweisen, zurückweisen; visa, permit, permission, paymentverweigern; to refuse to do somethingsich weigern, etw zu tun, etw nicht tun wollen; I refuse to believe itich weigere mich, das zu glauben, ich glaube das einfach nicht; I refuse to be blackmailedich lasse mich nicht erpressen; to be refused somethingetw nicht bekommen; he was refused entry into Germanyihm wurde die Einreise nach Deutschland verweigert; he was refused a visaihm wurde das Visum verweigert; they were refused permission (to leave)es wurde ihnen nicht gestattet (wegzugehen); he refused fooder verweigerte die Nahrungsaufnahme; he/his request was refuseder/seine Bitte wurde abgelehnt; she refused himsie wies ihn ab or zurück; the horse refused the fencedas Pferd hat am Hindernis verweigert
viablehnen; (to do sth) → sich weigern


nMüll m; (= food waste)Abfall m; household refuseHaus(halts)müll m; garden refuseGartenabfälle pl
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1 [rɪˈfjuːz]
1. vt (all senses) → rifiutare
to refuse sb sth → rifiutare qc a qn
to refuse to do sth → rifiutare or rifiutarsi di fare qc
2. virifiutarsi; (horse) → rifiutare (l'ostacolo)


2 [ˈrɛfjuːs] nrifiuti mpl
garden refuse → rifiuti del giardino
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(rəˈfjuːz) verb
1. not to do what one has been asked, told or is expected to do. He refused to help me; She refused to believe what I said; When I asked him to leave, he refused.
2. not to accept. He refused my offer of help; They refused our invitation; She refused the money.
3. not to give (permission etc). I was refused admittance to the meeting.
reˈfusal noun
I was surprised at his refusal to help me; When we sent out the wedding invitations, we had several refusals.


(ˈrefjuːs) noun
rubbish; waste material from eg a kitchen.
refuse collector, refuse collection vehicle
a person who collects, a vehicle for collecting, rubbish.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


حُثَالَة, يَرْفُضُ odmítnout, odpadky affald, afslå Abfall, ablehnen απορρίμματα, αρνούμαι rechazar, rechazo jäte, kieltäytyä ordures, refuser odbiti, otpad rifiutare, rifiuto ごみ, 拒否する 거절하다, 쓰레기 afval, weigeren avfall, nekte odmówić, odpady lixo, recusar отказывать, отходы sopor, vägra ขยะ, ปฏิเสธ reddetme, reddetmek rác, từ chối 废物, 拒绝
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. desecho, basura; desperdicios;
v. rehusar, rechazar, denegar;
___ the hospital food___ la comida del hospital;
___ to take the medicationrehusar tomar la medicina.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


vt rechazar; to refuse a transfusion..rechazar una transfusión
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Perhaps she refused to have him sent for because she knew he would refuse to come.
'Why do you, who heal others, refuse to help my son?' She besought him in Christ's name.
From the point of view of the old countess and of society it was out of the question for her to refuse him.
That an old gentleman of station should fall on his knees to a penniless governess, and burst out laughing because she refused to marry him-- that a penniless governess should refuse a Baronet with four thousand a year--these were mysteries which Miss Crawley could never comprehend.
But as she was dancing the last quadrille with one of the tiresome young men whom she could not refuse, she chanced to be vis-a-vis with Vronsky and Anna.
I positively refuse to read her, as I positively refuse to listen to her, whenever she attempts to return to that one subject.
"No, I do not yet refuse," said Dorothea, in a clear voice, the need of freedom asserting itself within her; "but it is too solemn-- I think it is not right--to make a promise when I am ignorant what it will bind me to.
My vanity may be misleading me still; for I must acknowledge to you privately that I think Miss Vanstone was sorry to refuse me.
"I refuse to accept this extraordinary mission," Pailleton declared, rising to his feet.
"You think I ought to refuse him then," said Harriet, looking down.
"I can refuse you nothing," replied he, "that is just and reasonable."
But such was either the hatred or avarice of this man, that instead of doing us the good offices he pretended, he advised the King to refuse our present, that he might draw from us something more valuable.