To repulse something is to repel it or drive it back. When you repulse your sister, you disgust her. When you repulse the enemy in battle or someone in conversation, you force them back or make them turn away.

Repulse is related to the word repel, and they mean similar things: to repulse an advance — romantic or warring — is to repel, or fend off, its advance. To repulse someone by being disgusting is to be repellent. You could repulse a person's attempts at conversation if you repulse him by picking your nose. Repulse is now most frequently used in the gross-out sense, but Jane Austin often had her characters repulse each others’ attempts at conversation or civility.

Definitions of repulse
  1. verb
    force or drive back
    synonyms: drive back, fight off, rebuff, repel
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    type of:
    defend, fight, fight back, fight down, oppose
    fight against or resist strongly
  2. verb
    cause to move back by force or influence
    synonyms: beat back, drive, force back, push back, repel
    cause to move rapidly by striking or throwing with force
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    attract, draw, draw in, pull, pull in
    direct toward itself or oneself by means of some psychological power or physical attributes
    draw in, retract
    pull inward or towards a center
    curl, curl up, draw in
    shape one's body into a curl
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    type of:
    force, push
    move with force, "He pushed the table into a corner"
  3. noun
    an instance of driving away or warding off
    synonyms: rebuff, snub
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    type of:
    the speech act of rejecting
  4. verb
    be repellent to; cause aversion in
    synonyms: repel
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    appeal, attract
    be attractive to
    churn up, disgust, nauseate, revolt, sicken
    cause aversion in; offend the moral sense of
    put off, turn off
    cause to feel intense dislike or distaste
    appal, appall, offend, outrage, scandalise, scandalize, shock
    strike with disgust or revulsion
    type of:
    give displeasure to
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