I happened on this odd word (from Latin redarguo ‘refute’) because it’s the guide word at the top left of p. 1042 of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate (11th edition), which defines it as ‘confute, disprove,’ calling it archaic; the OED has more to say: “1. To blame, reprove (a person or persons, an action, etc.). Also const. of, for. Obs. 2. To confute (a person) by argument. (In later use only Sc.; cf. next sense.) 3. To refute or disprove (an argument, statement, etc.). (Since c1700 only Sc., chiefly Law.) 4. absol. or intr. To reprove or refute; to employ argument for the purpose of refuting.” (A few citations: 1877 BLACKIEWise Men 327 All these Love’s vouchers stand, beyond the craft Of sophist to redargue. 1885 Law Rep. 10 App. Cases 383 note, This fact afforded a degree of real evidence which no parole testimony could redargue. 1641 J. JACKSON True Evang. T. I. 55 Men love truth when it shines, but not when it redargues). Next time you present someone with a triumphant conclusion, you can top it off by saying (in a thick Scottish burr, if you like) “Redargue that!”


  1. There is a verb ”redargüir” in portuguese, but it’s something more like ”rebutting” or merely ”answering back”.

  2. I like that middle -d- when it crops up, also in ‘redolent’ and ‘redact’.

  3. It’s so Ciceronian, isn’t it?
    Snippet view, which we all love to hate, is almost gnomic with One may redargue a presumption, but one cannot redargue a fiction.

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