This is part of the difference between series.

Recently, someone asked me to explain difference between the words rebuke and refute. Here’s the difference between the two.


Rebuke means something like sharply expressing disapproval or criticism. It can refer to the act of that criticism or the criticism itself.

  • She rebuked me for eating all the cookies in the cookie jar.
  • That harsh rebuke broke my heart.


Refute, on the other hand, means to disprove something.

  • He didn’t believe the false news article his friend shared, so he refuted it with facts.
  • Did you just refute my unsourced, unverified claim?

Course can also be a verb, meaning to move unobstructed:

  • The river coursed through the valley.

Which words do you confuse? Let me know in the comments below.

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About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

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