Definition of repellent in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈpelənt/
(also repellant)


1 [often in combination] Able to repel a particular thing; impervious to a particular substance: water-repellent nylon
More example sentences
  • ‘This new repellent chemistry affords flexibility and choice for protection against a variety of disease vectors,’ says Klun.
  • Avoid using electronic repellent devices, mothballs or other unregistered products.
  • The repellent agent cannot gain anything from the washing materials agent.
impermeable, impervious, resistant;
2Causing disgust or distaste: the idea was slightly repellent to her
More example sentences
  • Then, with repellent images of disgust, he urges his mother to cease all sexual relations with Claudius.
  • The brutal indifference, the unfeeling isolation of each in his private interest becomes the more repellent and offensive, the more these individuals are crowded together, within a limited space.
  • The repellent nature of this image evokes the almost primitive disgust that Nixon was able to elicit from his liberal enemies.


1A substance that deters insects or other pests from approaching or settling: a flea repellent
More example sentences
  • The fruits make good outdoor Christmas ornaments or could be used as insect pest repellents in the winter.
  • His work grew from earlier research by scientists in Beltsville, Maryland, who discovered a family of natural sugar esters that act as repellents to insects.
  • But prevention is better than cure, and insect repellents and sprays are the first step in self-protection.
2A substance used to treat something, especially fabric or stone, so as to make it impervious to water: treat brick with a silicone water repellent
More example sentences
  • Mosquito bites may be avoided by removing stagnant sources of water or by using protective clothing, repellants, larvicides, and, in cases of epidemics, insecticides.



Example sentences
  • Although the selective agent is unknown, the adaptive evolution of this gene may have resulted in increased effectiveness of pollinator attraction or herbivore repellence.
  • If the relationship is not neutral, it is one of repellence rather than attraction-and that is the dark side of the ‘soft power’ coin.
  • Linen will also be mixed with wool to create new performance fabrics of a high calibre with improved touch, softer hand and added water repellence.


Example sentences
  • After having carefully removed the forest floor above the mineral soil, the 5 m area selected was divided into 5 x 5 cm squares to measure the spatial variability of microtopography and superficial water repellency.
  • The research group found that using a dryer sheet instead of a liquid fabric softener provides a compromise where color is better maintained and stain repellency is only slightly reduced.
  • Human and animal tests have yet to be conducted, but the researchers believe their results are directly relevant to repellency on items such as clothing and tents.


Example sentences
  • Now the appalling tragedy in the southern states is being repellently exploited to serve that very same scientifically unsound preconceived agenda.
  • To those on the left, right-wing blogs can seem repellently dull because they do tend to agree with each other a lot.
  • Grainy and pockmarked, their textures are as repellently suggestive as they are visually riveting.


Mid 17th century: from Latin repellent- 'driving back', from the verb repellere (see repel).

Words that rhyme with repellent

appellant, propellant, propellent, water-repellent

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·pel·lent

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