Definition of repel in English:


Line breaks: repel
Pronunciation: /rɪˈpɛl

verb (repels, repelling, repelled)

[with object]
  • 1Drive or force (an attack or attacker) back or away: government units sought to repel the rebels
    More example sentences
    • McNamara and Blight argue that the U.S. should pledge not to use force unilaterally except to repel an attack, forgoing sovereign rights in favor of the collective security of a multilateral organization.
    • In the physical world, once an attacker is repelled, you follow up with counterattack.
    • In the film's climactic sequence, she turns into a Ninja fighter who repels the attacks of a group of dancing Israeli sharpshooters.
    fight off, repulse, drive back/away, put to flight, force back, beat back, push back, thrust back; hold off, ward off, fend off, stand off, stave off, parry, keep at bay, keep at arm's length; foil, check, frustrate; British see off
    informal send packing
    archaic rebut
  • 1.1(Of a magnetic pole or electric field) force (something similarly magnetized or charged) away from itself: electrically charged objects attract or repel one another [no object]: like poles repel and unlike poles attract
    More example sentences
    • Many everyday objects, including water and wood, are weakly diamagnetic - that is, they're repelled by magnetic fields.
    • It repels itself from the magnet it was once attracted to.
  • 1.2(Of a substance) resist mixing with or be impervious to (another substance): boots with good-quality leather uppers to repel moisture
    More example sentences
    • The mixture is an excellent material for coatings, according to Parris, because the zein portion resists grease, and the fatty acids repel water.
    • The essence of Senefelder's discovery was that if the stone is written on with a grease-based ink and then wetted, the ink will repel the water, which in turn repels the printing ink from all but the marks first made.
    • The glass, coated with microscopic chemical coatings, has properties which repel moisture and dirt, allowing them to be washed away during normal rainy weather.
    be impervious to, be impermeable to, keep out, be resistant to, resist
  • 3 formal Refuse to accept (something, especially an argument or theory): the alleged right of lien led by the bankrupt’s solicitor was repelled



More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, perhaps my tech-savvy readers can weigh in on a question that is currently fascinating the technophobe journalists in my office: do those electronic plug-in pest repellers actually work?
  • This neglects the possibility of domain formation, of specific molecular interactions via stickers and repellers, and of membrane undulations.
  • Paintings of the white tiger, considered a symbol of auspiciousness and repeller of evil, were once seen in every home and they were looked upon as benevolent messengers of the mountain spirit.


late Middle English: from Latin repellere, from re- 'back' + pellere 'to drive'.

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