Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To prove to be wrong or in error; refute decisively.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To confound.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To show (something or someone) to be false or wrong; to disprove or refute.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To overwhelm by argument; to refute conclusively; to prove or show to be false or defective; to overcome; to silence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To prove to be false, defective, or invalid; overthrow by evidence or stronger argument; refute: as, to confute arguments, reasoning, theory, or sophistry.
  • To prove (a person) to be wrong; convict of error by argument or proof.
  • To disable; put an end to; stop.
  • Synonyms Confute, Refute. See refute.
  • n. Confutation; opposing argument.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. prove to be false

Etymologies

Latin cōnfūtāre; see bhau- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French confuter, and its source, Latin confūtāre. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The author also gives the Hindustani word as 'kaelkur-hin', which seems to be intended for _qâil kareñ_, or in rustic form _karahiñ_, meaning 'confute'.

    Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official

  • The golfer's regard of Elin, 29, also seemed to confute the grumpy grousing he made about his marriage bed, complaining which "once we get married, the sex stops," according to sources.

    Truth to Power: Professional Athlete Tiger Woods

  • As for De Casseres -- if ever I get back to New York, equipped as I now am, I shall confute him with the same ease that he has confuted all the schools.

    CHAPTER XXXVII

  • But Israel's labor and culture worlds and overall the most democratic political faction are trying to make every effort to confute these accusations.

    Amir Madani: Perspectives of Peace in the Middle East

  • Neither an act of God nor a piece of journalism will vindicate Willingham or confute the death penalty.

    Rob Fishman: Trial by Firefight

  • So now is the moment for the President-elect to confute his critics, and demonstrate that he has the toughness needed to deal with the Islamofascist threat, no matter who its agents may be.

    Mark Kleiman: Torture: A modest proposal

  • In the article on Collins in Birch's Dictionary, Birch notes that his “large and curious [library] was open to all men of letters, to whom he readily communicated all the lights and assistance in his power, and even furnished his antagonists with books to confute himself, and directed them how to give their arguments all the force of which they were capable” (Birch, quoted in Berman, 1975).

    Anthony Collins

  • Fie upon thee! man needs should have some certain test set up to try his friends, some touchstone of their hearts, to know each friend whether he be true or false; all men should have two voices, one the voice of honesty, expediency's the other, so would honesty confute its knavish opposite, and then we could not be deceived.

    Hippolytus

  • But then, as if to confute the calumnies of the malevolent lady of Steinfeldt, with an air of sportive familiarity which was rather unwarranted by the time and place, he flirted on her beautiful forehead a drop or two of the moisture which remained on his own hand.

    Anne of Geierstein

  • My father, I am certain, by his letter, will now hear neither petition nor defence; on the contrary, he will only enrage at the temerity of offering to confute him.

    Cecilia

Comments

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  • "Nay, if thou talk of reason, then be mute:
    For with good reason I can thee confute.
    If they, which first by nature's sacred law,
    Do owe to me the tribute of their lives;
    If they to whom I always have been kind,
    And bountiful beyond comparison;
    If they, for whom I have undone myself,
    And brought my age unto this extreme want,
    Do now reject, condemn, despise, abhor me,
    What reason moveth thee to sorrow for me?"
    - anon., 'King Leir'.

    October 25, 2008