The word dispute be used as a verb or a noun:

  1. Do not dispute me on this.

  2. The dispute was settled quickly.

However, the word refute can be used only as a verb:

  1. I shall refute this claim.

The only way to use it as a noun is to add the suffix ‑tation:

  1. That was a weak refutation.

Why is this?

  • 2
    Presumably we have the two noun usages dispute and disputation because we find that distinction useful more often, whereas such fine distinctions are rarely important in the context of refutation (which can equally well apply to both the act / practice of refuting, and the substance of any given rebuttal). But essentially, that's just how English happens to have evolved. Feb 1, 2019 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


There was a noun (synonymous with refutation), but it was never very popular, so it died out. For example:

We finde no concurrent determination of ages past, and a positive and undeniable refute of these present, the affirmative is mutable.  

Pseudodoxia Epidemica

  • 1
    Don't forget the 1694 citation for the second version of the noun to accompany the first version: Keep the quarrel as clean and unmixt as you can, and this will advantage you much both within, and without, in the peace and firmness of your minds, and in the refute of your enemies. And there's also the noun refutal.
    – tchrist
    Feb 1, 2019 at 18:50

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