To disown someone is to reject them. If you disown your brother, you refuse to have anything to do with him: not only do you not speak or have contact, but it's as if he's no longer related to you.

When one person disowns another, it's because of some terrible argument or deep-rooted conflict. Although it's uncommon to disown another person, when it happens it's usually a family member who's cast off. Your mom might threaten to disown you after you drive her car into the mailbox, but she's probably not serious. Disown takes the root word own, meaning "to have or to hold," and adds the Latin prefix dis, "not" or "do the opposite of."

Definitions of disown
  1. verb
    cast off
    synonyms: renounce, repudiate
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    apostatise, apostatize, tergiversate
    abandon one's beliefs or allegiances
    abjure, forswear, recant, resile, retract
    formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure
    swallow, take back, unsay, withdraw
    take back what one has said
    confound, rebut, refute
    overthrow by argument, evidence, or proof
    refuse to accept or believe
    deny or renounce
    contradict, controvert, oppose
    be resistant to
    give a defence or refutation of (a charge) or in (an argument)
    type of:
    refuse to accept or acknowledge
  2. verb
    prevent deliberately (as by making a will) from inheriting
    synonyms: disinherit
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    bequeath, leave, will
    leave or give by will after one's death
    leave, leave behind
    be survived by after one's death
    give, impart, leave, pass on
    transmit (knowledge or skills)
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    type of:
    keep from having, keeping, or obtaining
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