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[uh-vou] /əˈvaʊ/
verb (used with object)
to declare frankly or openly; own; acknowledge; confess; admit:
He avowed himself an opponent of all alliances.
Origin of avow
1150-1200; Middle English avowen < Old French avoue(r) < Latin advocāre. See advocate
Related forms
avowable, adjective
avower, noun
reavow, verb (used with object)
unavowable, adjective
unavowableness, noun
unavowably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unavowable
Historical Examples
  • Over the sea it hung heavy and dank like a huge sheet of gray thrown over things secret and unavowable.

  • As an evil it is too merciless; as a resource it is too unavowable.

  • No humility awoke in her; she felt the stirring of envies, avidities, unavowable passions, and let them flourish unrebuked.

    In the Year of Jubilee George Gissing
British Dictionary definitions for unavowable


verb (transitive)
to state or affirm
to admit openly
(law, rare) to justify or maintain (some action taken)
Derived Forms
avowable, adjective
avowal, noun
avowed (əˈvaʊd) adjective
avowedly (əˈvaʊɪdlɪ) adverb
avower, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French avouer to confess, from Latin advocāre to appeal to, call upon; see avouch, advocate
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 unavowable



early 13c., from Anglo-French avouer, Old French avoer "acknowledge, accept, recognize," especially as a protector (Modern French avouer), from Latin advocare (see advocate). A synonym of avouch (q.v.), which tends to contain the more technical, legal aspect of the word. Related: Avowed; avowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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