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[ri-puhls] /rɪˈpʌls/
verb (used with object), repulsed, repulsing.
to drive back; repel:
to repulse an assailant.
to repel with denial, discourtesy, or the like; refuse or reject.
to cause feelings of repulsion in:
The scenes of violence in the film may repulse some viewers.
the act of repelling.
the fact of being repelled, as in hostile encounter.
a refusal or rejection.
Origin of repulse
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin repulsus, past participle of repellere to repel
Related forms
repulser, noun
unrepulsed, adjective
unrepulsing, adjective
2. rebuff, spurn, shun, snub. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for repulse
  • The two north poles push away, or repulse, each other.
  • His garish color palette continues to fascinate and repulse.
  • To be honest, they don t impress me and many repulse me.
  • They might have been carefully orchestrated to repulse independent voters.
  • It formed again and again and each time met with a repulse.
  • After the second repulse, the warriors resumed sniping.
  • Males are also expected to develop masculine traits that repulse or threaten rival and attract females.
  • In fresh wat er, particles of sediment are negatively charged and tend to repulse one another.
  • All was done that could be, both before and after the repulse of the enemy by the use of canister upon their ranks.
British Dictionary definitions for repulse


verb (transitive)
to drive back or ward off (an attacking force); repel; rebuff
to reject with coldness or discourtesy: she repulsed his advances
to produce a feeling of aversion or distaste
the act or an instance of driving back or warding off; rebuff
a cold discourteous rejection or refusal
Derived Forms
repulser, noun
Usage note
Some people think that the use of repulse in sentences such as he was repulsed by what he saw is incorrect and that the correct word is repel
Word Origin
C16: from Latin repellere to drive back, repel
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 repulse

early 15c., from Latin repulsus, past participle of repellere "drive back, reject" (see repel). Related: Repulsed; repulsing.


1530s, from Latin repulsa "refusal, denial," noun use of fem. past participle of repellere (see repel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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