disprove

disprove, refute, confute, rebut, controvert mean to show or attempt to show by argument that a statement, a claim, a proposition, or a charge is not true.
Disprove stresses the success of an argument in showing the falsity, erroneousness, or invalidity of what is attacked
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he could not disprove the major contention of his opponents

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I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, but here I am to speak what I do know— Shak.

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the final values of life, the ultimate meanings of experience, are just those that no man can prove, and that no man can disprove either— Hedley

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Refute stresses the method more than the effect of argument in disproof; it therefore is preferred to disprove when one wishes to convey implications of the adducing of evidence, of a bringing forward of witnesses, experts, or authorities, and of close reasoning. It connotes an elaboration of arguments not present in disprove
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with respect to that other, more weighty accusation, of having injured Mr. Wickham, I can only refute it by laying before you the whole of his connection with my family— Austen

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there is great force in this argument, and the Court is not satisfied that it has been refutedJohn Marshall

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one can disagree with his views but one can't refute them. . . . Every particle of him asseverates the truth which is in him— Henry Miller

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Confute emphasizes a destruction of arguments or a reducing to silence of opponents by clearly revealing the falsity or the untenability of the points which have been made; the term usually implies refutation, but it may also suggest such methods as denunciation and sarcasm
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Satan stood . . . confuted and convinced of his weak arguing and fallacious drift— Milton

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Elijah . . . confuted the prophets of Baal in precisely that way, with . . . bitter mockery of their god when he failed to send down fire from heaven— Shaw

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hypotheses which may be confuted by experience— Ayer

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Rebut differs from refute, its closest synonym, in suggesting greater formality of method (as that used in organized debate or in courts of law). Although its aim is disproof of an opponent's contentions, the term does not necessarily imply the achievement of one's end, but it does suggest the offering of argument, evidence, or testimony given in support of the other side
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at the end of the formal arguments, each member of the debating team was allowed three minutes for rebutting the arguments of his opponents

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the Tractarians were driven to formulate a theory of the Church . . . which should justify the exclusive claim of Anglicanism to be the Church of Christ in these islands, while rebutting the arguments of Rome— Inge

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the author carefully examined and rebutted, point by point, many of the arguments— Ashley Montagu

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Controvert usually carries a dual implication of denying or contradicting a statement, proposition, or doctrine, or a set of these, and of refuting or attempting to refute it. It does not necessarily suggest disproof but it does connote a valiant effort to achieve that end
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this doctrine has been controverted; it is, however, very ably defended by Mr. Hargrave— Cruise

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I am glad that this year we are assembled not to controvert the opinions of others, nor even to defend ourselves— Inge

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Analogous words: negative, traverse, impugn, contravene (see DENY)
Antonyms: prove, demonstrate

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Disprove — Dis*prove , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Disproved}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Disproving}.] [Pref. dis + prove: cf. OF. desprover.] 1. To prove to be false or erroneous; to confute; to refute. [1913 Webster] That false supposition I advanced in order to disprove …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • disprove — [dis pro͞ov′, dis′pro͞ov′; dis′pro͞ov΄] vt. disproved, disproved or disproven, disproving [ME disproven < OFr desprover: see DIS & PROVE] to prove to be false or in error; refute; confute disprovable adj. SYN. DISPROVE implies the presenting… …   English World dictionary

  • disprove — I verb belie, confute, contravene, controvert, counteract, countervail, deny, discredit, dispel, find unfounded, invalidate, negate, nullify, oppugn, prove false, prove the contrary, prove to be wrong, prove to the contrary, rebut, redarguere,… …   Law dictionary

  • disprove — late 14c., from O.Fr. desprover refute, contradict, from des (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + prover (see PROVE (Cf. prove)). Related: Disproved; disproving …   Etymology dictionary

  • disprove — [v] prove false belie, blow sky high*, blow up*, break, confound, confute, contradict, contravene, controvert, deny, disconfirm, discredit, explode, expose, find unfounded, impugn, invalidate, knock bottom out of*, knock props out*, negate,… …   New thesaurus

  • disprove — ► VERB ▪ prove to be false. DERIVATIVES disprovable adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • disprove — UK [dɪsˈpruːv] / US [dɪsˈpruv] verb [transitive] Word forms disprove : present tense I/you/we/they disprove he/she/it disproves present participle disproving past tense disproved past participle disproved to prove that something is not correct or …   English dictionary

  • disprove — [[t]dɪspru͟ːv[/t]] disproves, disproving, disproved, disproven VERB To disprove an idea, belief, or theory means to show that it is not true. [V n] The statistics to prove or disprove his hypothesis will take years to collect. Syn: refute …   English dictionary

  • disprove — transitive verb Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French desprover, from des dis + prover to prove Date: 14th century to prove to be false or wrong ; refute < disprove a theory > • disprovable adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • disprove — verb Disprove is used with these nouns as the object: ↑allegation, ↑claim, ↑existence, ↑myth, ↑theory, ↑thesis …   Collocations dictionary

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