Definition of recusant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɛkjʊz(ə)nt/


1A person who refuses to submit to an authority or to comply with a regulation.
Example sentences
  • The Lancashire desolation and remoteness was a refuge for recusants - awkward people who were stubborn and resilient, and whose best expression was not in word but in action and a capacity to come back for more persecution.
  • We cannot install any of our circle among the young lady's confidantes; Salisbury suspects them all as recusants, and advises Lord Harington whom to keep and whom to expel.
  • From 307 he used the death penalty only rarely, but mutilated recusants and sent them to the mines; outside Egypt there were relatively few executions.
1.1 historical A person who refused to attend services of the Church of England: support for the exiled King was greatest among Catholic recusants
More example sentences
  • However, the government did not wish only to tighten measures against Roman Catholic missionary priests and lay recusants who refused to attend their parish churches.
  • Another 300 Catholic priests, missionaries, and recusants were tried and executed in England for religious beliefs judged as treason between 1535 and 1680.
  • More specifically, a recusant was someone who refused to attend Protestant church services.


Of or denoting a recusant.
Example sentences
  • His ravishing portrait of the young English recusant nun Elizabeth Throckmorton (c. 1729; Washington, NG) is a case in point.
  • A recusant Catholic would not be the possessor of that right.
  • After the excommunication of Elizabeth I in 1570, the purpose of legislation changed from securing royal supremacy to defeating the new recusant missionary campaign.



Pronunciation: /ˈrɛkjʊz(ə)ns/


Example sentences
  • Educated at home by Catholic tutors, Donne went at the age of 11 to Hart Hall, Oxford (now Hertford College), favoured by Catholics because it had no chapel, so that recusancy attracted less notice.
  • It is noticeable that Catholic recusancy was generally stronger in eastern than western Wales; it may have been easier to maintain conservative dissent in the less effectively structured marcher region.
  • For the religious group that went in a few years from dominance to recusancy, to being a persecuted minority in its own country, life must have seemed full of sudden reversals and paradoxes.


Mid 16th century: from Latin recusant- 'refusing', from the verb recusare (see recuse).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: recu|sant

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