Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To fail to carry out a promise or commitment: reneged on the contract at the last minute.
  • intransitive v. Games To fail to follow suit in cards when able and required by the rules to do so.
  • transitive v. To renounce; disown.
  • n. The act of reneging.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To break a promise or commitment; to go back on one's word.
  • v. In a card game, to break one's commitment to follow suit when capable.
  • v. (archaic) To deny; to renounce

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To deny; to disown.
  • intransitive v. To deny.
  • intransitive v. To fail to keep (a commitment or promise); -- often used with on.
  • intransitive v. To revoke; to play a card that cannot legally be played according to the rules.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To deny; disown; renounce.
  • To deny.
  • In card-playing, to play a card that is not of the suit led (as is allowable in some games); also, by extension, to revoke. Also renig.

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

  • v. fail to fulfill a promise or obligation
  • n. the mistake of not following suit when able to do so

Etymologies

Medieval Latin renegāre, to deny; see renegade.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin renego, from nego ("deny"). Possibly influenced by renegotiate. See also renegade. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • After N-Data tried to "renege" on the original agreement, and tried to increase the royalty payment, the FTC decided to take action.

    FTC Looking to Break Down "Patent Walls" For Standardized Technologies

  • Mr. Cuomo said the New Orleans-based company agreed not to "renege" on its contract to pay $432 million to the New York Power Authority over the length of the revenue-sharing agreement, which runs through 2014.

    Entergy, New York Reach Deal

  • The government fears that Pfizer will "renege" on this undertaking, he said.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Dictionaries state that "renege" means to go back on one's word and that "reneger" is the noun form of the word.

    Council Fails To Deal With Crime

  • I mean, didn't you kind of renege on the agreement here?

    CNN Transcript May 16, 2002

  • The colleague, a friend, told me he had been advised that "renege" was off-limits, especially in conversations involving African-Americans, because it suggested the outdated term "Negro."

    chicagotribune.com -

  • The headline on the Republican Jewish Coalition's press release today [April 14, 2009] calls on President Obama to stop the "equivocating and flip-flopping" on the Durban II conference, and the release expresses concern that the president might "renege" on his promised boycott of the conference.

    NJDC Blog

  • No, "renege" doesn't mean what you think it means.

    Yannone

  • The charity said the Budget could include cuts of up to £860 million a year in aid spending, with ministers citing the economic downturn as an excuse to "renege" on aid commitments.

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  • "renege" on the plea agreement because judges aren't bound by plea agreements.

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