September 03, 2012
rebuff (verb)
\rih-BUFF\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to refuse or check sharply
How do you use it?
She rebuffed his advances, telling him flat out that she would not date him.
Are you a word wiz?

What do you think the root of "rebuff" means?

No reprimands necessary if you chose A! The verb "rebuff" sure looks like it might come from the prefix "re-," meaning "again," and the verb "buff," meaning "to polish," but this is not the case: "rebuff" comes ultimately from the Old Italian verb "ribuffo," meaning "to reprimand." It was taken into medieval French, where the meaning changed to "to refuse," and then into English. "Rebuff" goes back to the 16th century.
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