Difference Wiki

Renounce vs. Denounce: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 17, 2023
"Renounce" means to formally give up or reject; "denounce" means to publicly declare as wrong or evil.

Key Differences

"Renounce" and "denounce" are both verbs in English that pertain to rejection, yet they differ in nuance and context. "Renounce" typically relates to personal decisions or affiliations, while "denounce" points to public condemnations or criticisms.
When one chooses to "renounce" something, they are essentially giving it up or rejecting it, often with a formal or solemn intent. Conversely, to "denounce" means to declare publicly that something or someone is wrong or evil, frequently with an undertone of moral or ethical judgment.
For instance, a person might "renounce" their citizenship or a particular belief that they once held. In contrast, the same individual could "denounce" a political movement or policy they see as harmful or unjust.
In religious contexts, "renounce" often signifies a turning away from worldly pleasures or vices. On the other hand, religious leaders might "denounce" certain behaviors or ideologies as sinful or misguided.
In essence, while both terms deal with rejection, "renounce" centers more on personal disavowal and "denounce" on public condemnation.

Comparison Chart


Formally give up or reject
Publicly declare as wrong or evil

Level of Publicity

Often a personal or formal decision
Typically a public declaration


Personal disavowal
Moral or ethical judgment

Contextual Usage

Relinquishing rights, beliefs
Condemning actions, policies, ideologies


Renouncing a title, citizenship
Denouncing corruption, a dictator

Renounce and Denounce Definitions


To give up or put aside voluntarily.
He renounced his claim to the throne.


To announce formally the termination of (a treaty).
The country denounced the peace agreement.


To turn away from; abandon.
The monk renounced worldly pleasures.


To criticize or condemn openly as being wrong or reprehensible.
Activists denounce the new policy as discriminatory.


To reject or disown.
She renounced her past actions.


To inform against; hence, to accuse publicly.
He was denounced as a traitor.


To formally declare one's abandonment of.
She chose to renounce her citizenship.


To pronounce especially publicly to be blameworthy or evil.
The mayor denounced the act of vandalism.


To refrain from, often with an implication of a prior addiction.
He renounced smoking.


To give formal announcement of the ending of.
They denounced their alliance with the rebel group.


To give up (a title or possession, for example), especially by formal announcement.


To condemn openly as being wrong or reprehensible.


To decide or declare that one will no longer adhere to (a belief or position); reject.


To inform against (someone); accuse publicly.


To decide or declare that one will no longer engage in (a practice) or use (something)
Renounce violence.


What does "renounce" primarily mean?

"Renounce" means to formally give up or reject something.

In what situations is "denounce" commonly used?

It's often used in political or moral contexts, condemning policies or behaviors.

How is "denounce" different in tone from "renounce"?

"Denounce" is about public condemnation, often with moral judgment.

Does "renounce" always mean forever?

Typically, yes. It implies a definitive turning away from something.

Can "denounce" be synonymous with "condemn"?

Yes, both can mean to declare something as wrong or reprehensible.

When is "denounce" used in international relations?

Countries might denounce actions of other nations or terminate treaties.

Can "denounce" be used in daily conversations?

Yes, people can denounce anything they find wrong or disagreeable in casual talk.

Can a person be "denounced" for their beliefs?

Yes, they can be publicly criticized or condemned for holding certain beliefs.

When would someone "denounce" another?

They'd denounce when publicly declaring another's actions as wrong or evil.

Can "renounce" be used in religious contexts?

Yes, like when someone renounces worldly pleasures or a former belief.

If someone "renounces" a belief, do they still believe in it?

No, renouncing a belief means they've formally rejected or abandoned it.

Can "renounce" be used in legal contexts?

Yes, one can renounce rights, claims, or titles legally.

Is "renounce" always a formal action?

Not always, but it often carries a sense of formality or solemnity.

What's a personal example of "renounce"?

Someone might renounce a bad habit they used to have.

Can someone "renounce" their past?

Yes, meaning they formally reject or distance themselves from past actions or affiliations.

Does "denounce" always imply a moral stance?

Often, yes. Denouncing usually carries a tone of ethical or moral judgment.

Why might a monarch "renounce" their throne?

Possibly due to personal reasons, political pressure, or for the good of the realm.

Is "renounce" a personal choice?

Often, yes. It revolves around an individual's decision to reject or give up something.

Is "denounce" always negative?

Typically, yes. It's about declaring something wrong or reprehensible.

Can governments "denounce" treaties?

Yes, they can formally declare the end or invalidation of treaties.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons