Difference Wiki

Reject vs. Refuse: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 5, 2023
"Reject" means to dismiss as inadequate or unsuitable, while "refuse" means to decline or express unwillingness to do or accept something.

Key Differences

"Reject" and "refuse" both signify negative responses, but they have distinctive nuances and applications. "Reject" primarily implies a dismissal, often after some evaluation. For instance, a job application might be rejected after reviewing the candidate's qualifications, or a manuscript might be rejected by a publisher after reading. The focus here is on discarding or deeming something as unsuitable or inadequate. Meanwhile, "refuse" is more straightforward, indicating a decline or denial without necessarily implying prior evaluation or consideration.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023
While "reject" often carries a more formal tone, especially in contexts like professional or academic evaluations, "refuse" can be used in more casual settings. One might refuse an offer of food at a party or refuse to participate in a game. The act of refusing implies a choice or decision based on personal preference or circumstances. On the other hand, "reject" often comes from a place of judgment or assessment.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023
Metaphorically, both "reject" and "refuse" have broader applications. For example, one can reject an ideology, implying a deeper disagreement with its principles. Similarly, one can refuse to believe something, indicating strong skepticism or disbelief. While both words can be used in these broader senses, "reject" suggests a more thorough deliberation and "refuse" emphasizes the act of turning away.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023
In essence, while both "reject" and "refuse" imply negative responses, "reject" underscores evaluation and judgment, whereas "refuse" focuses on the act of declining without a detailed assessment.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

Dismiss as inadequate or unsuitable.
Decline or express unwillingness.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Evaluation

Often involves assessment before dismissal.
Can be without prior evaluation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Tone

Typically more formal.
Can be more casual.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Contextual Flexibility

Primarily about unsuitability.
About unwillingness or decline.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Metaphorical Use

Yes, e.g., "reject an idea."
Yes, e.g., "refuse to accept."
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Reject and Refuse Definitions

Reject

Fail to show due affection or concern.
He felt rejected by his peers.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Refuse

Decline a request or demand.
The manager refused to grant him a day off.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Reject

Disallow or exclude.
The judge may reject evidence deemed irrelevant.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Refuse

Stop oneself from doing something.
He refused to comment on the matter.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Reject

Refuse to admit.
They rejected her application for membership.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Refuse

Indicate unwillingness to do or accept something.
She refused the job offer.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Reject

Throw away as useless.
The machine will reject defective products.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Refuse

Fail to perform a required action.
The engine refused to start.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Reject

To refuse to accept, submit to, believe, or make use of
He rejected their version of what happened. The store rejected the merchandise because it was damaged.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Throw away or discard as useless.
The waste materials are collected and refused.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Reject

(transitive) To refuse to accept.
She even rejected my improved offer.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To indicate unwillingness to do, accept, give, or allow
She was refused admittance. He refused treatment.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

(basketball) To block a shot, especially if it sends the ball off the court.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To indicate unwillingness (to do something)
Refused to leave.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

To refuse a romantic advance.
I've been rejected three times this week.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To decline to jump (an obstacle). Used of a horse.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Something that is rejected.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To decline to do, accept, give, or allow something.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

An unpopular person.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Items or material discarded or rejected as useless or worthless; trash or rubbish.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

(colloquial) A rejected defective product in a production line.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Discarded, rejected.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

(aviation) A rejected takeoff.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Collectively, items or material that have been discarded; rubbish, garbage.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

To cast from one; to throw away; to discard.
Therefore all this exercise of hunting . . . the Utopians have rejected to their butchers.
Reject me not from among thy children.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

(obsolete) refusal
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

To refuse to receive or to acknowledge; to decline haughtily or harshly; to repudiate.
That golden scepter which thou didst reject.
Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

(transitive) To decline (a request or demand).
My request for a pay rise was refused.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

To refuse to grant; as, to reject a prayer or request.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

(intransitive) To decline a request or demand, forbear; to withhold permission.
I refuse to listen to this nonsense any more.
I asked the star if I could have her autograph, but she refused.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

The person or thing rejected or set aside as inferior in quality
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

(military) To throw back, or cause to keep back (as the centre, a wing, or a flank), out of the regular alignment when troops are about to engage the enemy.
To refuse the right wing while the left wing attacks
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Refuse to accept or acknowledge;
I reject the idea of starting a war
The journal rejected the student's paper
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To disown.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Refuse to accept;
He refused my offer of hospitality
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To melt again.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Deem wrong or inappropriate;
I disapprove of her child rearing methods
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To deny, as a request, demand, invitation, or command; to decline to do or grant.
That never yet refused your hest.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Reject with contempt;
She spurned his advances
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To throw back, or cause to keep back (as the center, a wing, or a flank), out of the regular aligment when troops ar about to engage the enemy; as, to refuse the right wing while the left wing attacks.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Resist immunologically the introduction of some foreign tissue or organ;
His body rejected the liver of the donor
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To decline to accept; to reject; to deny the request or petition of; as, to refuse a suitor.
The cunning workman never doth refuseThe meanest tool that he may chance to use.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Refuse entrance or membership;
They turned away hundreds of fans
Black people were often rejected by country clubs
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To disown.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Dismiss from consideration;
John was ruled out as a possible suspect because he had a strong alibi
This possibility can be eliminated from our consideration
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

To deny compliance; not to comply.
Too proud to ask, too humble to refuse.
If ye refuse . . . ye shall be devoured with the sword.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Reject

Dismiss as unsuitable or inferior.
The editor decided to reject the submitted article.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Refuse

Refusal.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

That which is refused or rejected as useless; waste or worthless matter.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Refused; rejected; hence; left as unworthy of acceptance; of no value; worthless.
Everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Food that is discarded (as from a kitchen)
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Show unwillingness towards;
He declined to join the group on a hike
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Refuse to accept;
He refused my offer of hospitality
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Elude, especially in a baffling way;
This behavior defies explanation
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Refuse to let have;
She denies me every pleasure
He denies her her weekly allowance
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Resist immunologically the introduction of some foreign tissue or organ;
His body rejected the liver of the donor
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

Refuse

Refuse entrance or membership;
They turned away hundreds of fans
Black people were often rejected by country clubs
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 18, 2023

FAQs

Can you "reject" an ideology?

Yes, to "reject" an ideology implies deep disagreement with its principles.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can "reject" imply a thorough evaluation?

Yes, "reject" often implies assessment before dismissal.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can "refuse" be used without prior evaluation?

Yes, "refuse" can indicate a direct decline without detailed assessment.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can "refuse" imply a personal choice?

Yes, "refuse" often denotes a decision based on personal preference.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Can "refuse" indicate resistance?

Yes, like refusing to comply can suggest resistance.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can "reject" imply emotional hurt?

Yes, like when someone feels rejected by friends or loved ones.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can you "refuse" an order?

Yes, it means declining to follow or obey it.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Is "reject" more formal than "refuse"?

Typically, "reject" carries a more formal tone, especially in professional contexts.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can you "refuse" to believe something?

Yes, it indicates strong skepticism or disbelief.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Can a product be "rejected"?

Yes, especially if it's deemed defective or unsuitable.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Is "reject" always negative?

Mostly, but context matters. For instance, rejecting harmful habits is positive.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Can "refuse" be synonymous with "deny"?

In some contexts, like refusing a request, it can be synonymous with "deny."
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

Is "reject" passive or active?

It's active, involving a decision to dismiss.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 05, 2023

Which is stronger, "reject" or "refuse"?

Both can be strong, but "reject" often implies a more thorough dismissal after evaluation.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Does "reject" always imply faultiness?

Not always. While often about unsuitability, context determines the exact nuance.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Can one "refuse" an invitation?

Yes, it implies declining the offer to attend.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023

Is "refuse" only about declining offers?

No, it can be about declining any action, offer, or request.
Sara Rehman
Oct 05, 2023

Can you "refuse" help?

Yes, it means declining assistance.
Harlon Moss
Oct 05, 2023

Can you "reject" someone's advice?

Yes, it means dismissing their suggestions.
Janet White
Oct 05, 2023

Can "reject" and "refuse" be used interchangeably?

Sometimes, but nuances differ. "Reject" often implies unsuitability, while "refuse" indicates decline.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 05, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons