Definition of recuse in English:

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Pronunciation: /riˈkyo͞oz/


[with object] chiefly North American
1Challenge (a judge, prosecutor, or juror) as unqualified to perform legal duties because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality: a motion to recuse the prosecutor
More example sentences
  • I have increasingly seen cases in which applications to recuse a judge have been made in circumstances where three or four years ago no one would have dreamt of it.
  • A notice enclosed with the copy of yesterday's Third Circuit ruling that the court sent to me by mail indicates that a majority of the Third Circuit's active judges is recused from the case.
  • If the Judge is indeed recused from death penalty cases, this will make the average Ninth Circuit death penalty case more anti-death-penalty.
1.1 (recuse oneself) (Of a judge) excuse oneself from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality: the Justice Department demanded that he recuse himself from the case
More example sentences
  • Mr Justice Newman had concluded that the District Judge should have recused himself and that the Defendant should have recognised the strength and gravity of the impact of this.
  • Three judges had recused themselves, and rehearing the case would require the support of a majority of the remaining 23.
  • The Plame investigation took a quantum leap in December 2003, when Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself.



Pronunciation: /-zəl/
Example sentences
  • No doubt he thought that, if he was biased against supporters of a rival, recusal was appropriate and in the interests of those lawyers.
  • These mechanisms are those for the disqualification, recusal, or self-recusal of judges.
  • Their recusal was also obviously appropriate.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'reject', specifically 'object to (a judge) as prejudiced'): from Latin recusare 'to refuse', from re- (expressing opposition) + causa 'a cause'. The sense 'excuse (oneself from a case)' dates from the early 19th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·cuse

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