"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[n. ri-buhf, ree-buhf; v. ri-buhf] /n. rɪˈbʌf, ˈri bʌf; v. rɪˈbʌf/
a blunt or abrupt rejection, as of a person making advances.
a peremptory refusal of a request, offer, etc.; snub.
a check to action or progress.
verb (used with object)
to give a rebuff to; check; repel; refuse; drive away.
Origin of rebuff
1580-90; < Middle French rebuffer < Italian ribuffare to disturb, reprimand, derivative of ribuffo (noun), equivalent to ri- re- + buffo puff; see buffoon
Related forms
rebuffable, adjective
rebuffably, adverb
unrebuffable, adjective
unrebuffed, adjective
4. snub, slight, reject, spurn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rebuff
  • The new regime will be challenged and will rebuff such attacks only if a stock of support for it has been built up.
  • The bodies of the poor often lack enough nutrients to rebuff diseases.
  • They could rebuff this foreign capital, by tightening caps, regulations and other restrictions on foreign investment.
  • Education is the foremost conveyance of knowledge to help rebuff where appropriate and inform where necessary.
  • After a while they rebuff your interest rather than invite you in.
  • They misunderstand his dilemma and rebuff him, which breaks his heart.
  • Moreover, in such a situation any rebuff of the would-be lover can be rationalized away.
  • Fortunately, their rebuff was of such gentleness that my ardor for ancient bones was left undented.
  • He marks a check in the appropriate box and sends off the rebuff by return mail.
  • For several weeks he worked this and met with no rebuff.
British Dictionary definitions for rebuff


verb (transitive)
to snub, reject, or refuse (a person offering help or sympathy, an offer of help, etc) abruptly or out of hand
to beat back (an attack); repel
a blunt refusal or rejection; snub
any sudden check to progress or action
Word Origin
C16: from Old French rebuffer, from Italian ribuffare, from ribuffo a reprimand, from ri-re- + buffo puff, gust, apparently of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rebuff

1580s, from obsolete French rebuffer "to check, snub," from Italian ribuffare "to check, chide, snide," from ribuffo "a snub," from ri- "back" (from Latin re-, see re-) + buffo "a puff," of imitative origin (cf. buffet (v.)). Related: Rebuffed; rebuffing.


1610s, from rebuff (v.), or from Middle French rebuffe or Italian ribuffo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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