If you rebuff someone, you reject or snub him. You might decide to rebuff a classmate's invitation to the dance after hearing him gossip meanly about a friend.

Although the verb rebuff is a somewhat old fashioned one to use for social relationships, it's still common in the world of diplomacy. One country's rebuff of another might start a war, or end peace talks, or otherwise reverberate through the world of international relations. You can also use rebuff as a noun — deliberately ignoring your sister's text message is one example of a rebuff. The Italian root word, ribuffo, combines ri, expressing opposition, and buffo, "a puff."

Definitions of rebuff
  1. noun
    a deliberate discourteous act (usually as an expression of anger or disapproval)
    synonyms: slight
    see moresee less
    cold shoulder, cut, snub
    a refusal to recognize someone you know
    silent treatment
    an aloof refusal to speak to someone you know
    type of:
    discourtesy, offence, offense, offensive activity
    a lack of politeness; a failure to show regard for others; wounding the feelings or others
  2. noun
    an instance of driving away or warding off
    synonyms: repulse, snub
    see moresee less
    type of:
    the speech act of rejecting
  3. verb
    reject outright and bluntly
    synonyms: repel, snub
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disdain, freeze off, pooh-pooh, reject, scorn, spurn, turn down
    reject with contempt
  4. verb
    force or drive back
    rebuff the attack”
    synonyms: drive back, fight off, repel, repulse
    see moresee less
    type of:
    defend, fight, fight back, fight down, oppose
    fight against or resist strongly
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week