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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ After the Reformation, many Catholics recanted to avoid punishment.
▪ During the Moscow Show Trials in the 1930s, prisoners were forced to publicly recant.
▪ Galileo was forced to recant his belief in the Copernican theory.
▪ Giulio Cesare Vanini, one of the most outspoken atheists of his time but who did not recant, was less fortunate.
▪ If Amanda Johnston were to recant, and announce that the affair began in school, Woodhead's career would be finished.
▪ McNamara did not recant at the meeting nor did he apologize.
▪ She also testified that Irvin had terrorized her in an effort to make her recant her testimony against him.
▪ The magistrate Maximus offered Quirnus the position of priest to Jupiter if he would recant his faith.
▪ They blindfolded Mrs Dyer, roped her neck, and expected her to recant.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Recant \Re*cant"\ (r[-e]*k[a^]nt"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Recanted; p. pr. & vb. n. Recanting.] [L. recantare, recantatum, to recall, recant; pref. re- re- + cantare to sing, to sound. See 3d Cant, Chant.] To withdraw or repudiate formally and publicly (opinions formerly expressed); to contradict, as a former declaration; to take back openly; to retract; to recall.

How soon . . . ease would recant Vows made in pain, as violent and void!

Syn: To retract; recall; revoke; abjure; disown; disavow. See Renounce.


Recant \Re*cant"\, v. i. To revoke a declaration or proposition; to unsay what has been said; to retract; as, convince me that I am wrong, and I will recant.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1530s, from Latin recantare "recall, revoke," from re- "back" (see re-) + cantare "to chant" (see chant (v.)). A word from the Reformation. Loan-translation of Greek palinoidein "recant," from palin "back" + oeidein "to sing." Related: Recanted; recanting.


vb. (context ambitransitive English) To withdraw or repudiate a statement or opinion formerly expressed, especially formally and publicly.


v. formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure; "He retracted his earlier statements about his religion"; "She abjured her beliefs" [syn: abjure, forswear, retract, resile]

Usage examples of "recant".

Francis Pucci cam and browght Chrisan Franken with him, who, he sayd, had now recanted his wycked boke against Christ, wherof I was glad.

But many men of keen intellects had not waited for him to recant before exposing this wretched system of his.

Every effort was then made to get Huss to recant a list of propositions drawn up by the council and attributed to him.

For example, General Trimble, captured fighting us at Gettysburg, is, without recanting his treason, a legal voter by the laws of Maryland.

My hyperactive classroom screams out its answers, constantly recanting, amending, reaffirming, anything but silent and archived, fired by the same single fact that keeps me revising.

The weight of his body dragged him down, but he still would not recant or apostatize his faith.

Emperor Maximilian promised his aid to the pope, and in order to expedite matters, the latter changed the summons to Rome to a citation before Cajetan at Augsburg, at the same time instructing the legate to seize the heretic if he did not recant.

Armed with this, the Wittenberg professor appeared before Cajetan at Augsburg, was asked to recant two of his statements on indulgences, and refused.

According to a confidential file which Nim had read, Commissioner Reid was once an ardent believer in Keynesian economics, but had recanted, now accepting that the deficit spending doctrines of John Maynard Keynes had led to economic disaster worldwide.

Nicole recanted her allegations the following year, and all charges against her father were dropped.

The few remaining Anabaptists had converted to more politically correct sects, but the dying woman on the rack stubbornly refused to recant.

A man who recanted under torture was unlikely to backslide soon, and in time he might forget Aten, or at least find other interests.

Virginia statutes in his citations even got some of the locals there recanting on their interrogatories, claim they were tricked by the fancy language where Szyrk claims his sculpture is site specific for the moral torpor and spiritual vacuity of the place the only words they got hold of were moral and spiritual, thought it was all some big tribute.

If, in addition to this, the Holy Inquisition can bring substantial numbers of infidels to recant and embrace the True Faith, we will acquire large additions to our labor force.

The call-girl who had sold her story to the press about their sexual escapades had been paid to recant her version of events, and the whole thing had been parlayed into a photo opportunity featuring Trevor Colson, stalwart Conservative MP, hugging the loyal wife who stood by him.