To recant is to publicly take back or withdraw a statement, opinion, or belief, often after having previously held or advocated for it.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Retract, renounce, disavow, repudiate, revoke, withdraw


Affirm, assert, maintain, uphold, declare, avow

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun recantations, recantation
Verb recanted, recants, recanting, recant
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • After being threatened with excommunication from the church, the theologian was forced to recant his controversial views on salvation.

  • The politician’s campaign promise to cut taxes was recanted after he took office and realized the state’s budget deficit.

  • The witness recanted their testimony, admitting that they had lied under oath.

  • The scientist recanted their theory after discovering new evidence that contradicted their original findings.


The word “recant” is often used in contexts that involve retracting or disavowing a previously held belief or statement. It can be used in a range of settings, from religious and political spheres to academic and scientific ones. In some cases, recanting can have serious consequences, such as loss of reputation, loss of credibility, or even legal repercussions.

The word “recant” comes from the Latin word “recantare,” which means “to sing back.” This reflects the idea of taking back something that has been previously declared or sung. The act of recanting is often seen as a sign of weakness or an admission of guilt or error, and can sometimes be met with suspicion or contempt.

In religious contexts, recanting is often associated with heresy or apostasy, where an individual renounces their faith or beliefs. In some cases, recanting can be seen as a way to avoid punishment or persecution for holding unorthodox or controversial views. In political settings, recanting can be seen as a way to save face or to change course on a particular issue, sometimes in response to public pressure or changing circumstances.

In academic or scientific contexts, recanting can be seen as a sign of intellectual integrity, as researchers are expected to correct or retract their findings if they are found to be inaccurate or incomplete. In journalism, recanting a story can result in a loss of credibility for the reporter or news outlet, and can have far-reaching consequences.

In summary, the word “recant” is often used to describe the act of retracting or withdrawing a previously held statement or belief, and is used in a range of contexts, from religious and political spheres to academic and scientific ones. It can be seen as a sign of weakness or intellectual integrity, depending on the circumstances.