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  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Question renounce vs. recant

    Hello!

    What is the difference between renounce and recant? I am not clear about them after looking them up in a dictionary.

    e.g. She renounced her Catholic faith and converted to Anglicanism.

    Can I replace with "renounce" with "recant"?

    Thanks!


    P.S. The difinitions about them from the Cambridge Dictionary.

    recant FORMAL
    to announce in public that your past beliefs or statements were wrong and that you no longer agree with them:
    After a year spent in solitary confinement, he publicly recanted (his views).
    renounce / verb [T] FORMAL
    to say formally or publicly that you no longer own, support, believe in or have a connection with something:
    Her ex-husband renounced his claim to the family house.
    Gandhi renounced the use of violence.

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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    The thesaurus lists the words as synonyms and there is a matching definition for both words in the dictionary, "To withdraw or disavow a statement, opinion, etc." Therefore, it looks safe to use them interchangeably.
    However, renounce has additional meanings like "to disown" or "to give up voluntarily."

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    Although they are given as synonyms, there is a difference.

    To recant something is to announce in public that your past beliefs or statements were wrong and that you no longer agree with them.

    To renounce something is to say formally or publicly that you no longer own, support, believe in or have a connection with something.

    The important difference is that in recanting a belief, you are stating that it was wrong; whereas to renounce it merely means to cast it off without the implication that there was anything wrong about it.

  4. #4
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Post Re: renounce vs. recant

    Calinative and Anglika:

    Thank you for your help.

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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    To regard them as synonyms because of one area of slight overlap is to lose the meaning of these two words entirely.

    Did the Prince of Wales recant the throne in 1936?

  6. #6
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    To regard them as synonyms because of one area of slight overlap is to lose the meaning of these two words entirely.

    Did the Prince of Wales recant the throne in 1936?
    Hi David L.,

    Thank you for your input. Can I say relinquish the throne?

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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    'recant', renounce' and 'relinquish' all mean 'to give up, to let go', and of the three, 'relinquish' is the most general.

    Hence, did he 'give up the throne'? Yes.
    Did he 'relinquish' = voluntarily cease to claim any right to the throne? Yes
    Did he make a radio broadcast to the nation and formally declare that he was abandoning all claim to the British throne = 'renounce' - YES.

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    thedaffodils's Avatar
    thedaffodils is offline Key Member
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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    'recant', renounce' and 'relinquish' all mean 'to give up, to let go', and of the three, 'relinquish' is the most general.

    Hence, did he 'give up the throne'? Yes.
    Did he 'relinquish' = voluntarily cease to claim any right to the throne? Yes
    Did he make a radio broadcast to the nation and formally declare that he was abandoning all claim to the British throne = 'renounce' - YES.
    Thank you for your illustration. I think I am clearer.

  9. #9
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: renounce vs. recant

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    'recant', renounce' and 'relinquish' all mean 'to give up, to let go', and of the three, 'relinquish' is the most general.

    Hence, did he 'give up the throne'? Yes.
    Did he 'relinquish' = voluntarily cease to claim any right to the throne? Yes
    Did he make a radio broadcast to the nation and formally declare that he was abandoning all claim to the British throne = 'renounce' - YES.
    But he didn't *recant the throne. When you recant something, what you give up is adherence to something you've said. The etymology is a clue - Vulgar Latin CANTARE = 'to sing'.

    b

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