Repudiate

The word repudiate means to deny, refuse to recognize.

On the news, repudiating often comes in the context of politics and goes like this.

A politician is on the defensive when asked about some controversial matter. “I repudiate that!” the politician says. No, it’s more like, “No comment” or “I deny that.”

The media seems to love politicians using repudiate in terms of “I deny that” or “I refute that”. But no politician actually says “I repudiate that!”. It is too much of a mouth full.

Why is repudiate even in the English language if most people refuse to use it? I think repudiate is mainly used by lawyers in their defense of a client. “He repudiates that!”

But there was a guy I saw on television who used it when being asked by a reporter, “Do you accept the charges against you?”

He said quietly, “I repudiate the charges.”

His comment went viral. Repudiate became a sensation for fifteen minutes. Its fifteen minutes of fame. That’s because hardly no one used the word, but he did.

I guess people still love that underused word very much. Repudiate has that exotic appeal in the right context.