from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of the Roman Catholics in England who incurred legal and social penalties in the 16th century and afterward for refusing to attend services of the Church of England.
  • n. A dissenter; a nonconformist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. someone refusing to attend Church of England services, between the sixteenth and early nineteenth centuries
  • n. anyone refusing to submit to authority or regulation
  • adj. pertaining to a recusant or to recusancy

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Obstinate in refusal; specifically, in English history, refusing to acknowledge the supremacy of the king in the churc, or to conform to the established rites of the church.
  • n. One who is obstinate in refusal; one standing out stubbornly against general practice or opinion.
  • n. A person who refuses to acknowledge the supremacy of the king in matters of religion.
  • n. One who refuses communion with the Church of England; a nonconformist.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Obstinate in refusal; specifically, in English history, refusing to attend divine service in Anglican churches, or to acknowledge the ecclesiastical supremacy of the crown.
  • n. One obstinate in refusing; one who will not conform to general opinion or practice.
  • n. Specifically, in English history, one who refused to attend divine worship in Anglican churches, or to acknowledge the ecclesiastical supremacy of the crown.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of Catholics) refusing to attend services of the Church of England
  • adj. refusing to submit to authority
  • n. someone who refuses to conform to established standards of conduct


From Latin recusare ‘refuse’. (Wiktionary)


  • Haman being an Amalekite, one of a doomed and accursed race, was, doubtless, another element in the refusal; and on learning that the recusant was a Jew, whose nonconformity was grounded on religious scruples, the magnitude of the affront appeared so much the greater, as the example of Mordecai would be imitated by all his compatriots.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • "recusant," yet was High Sheriff of his county in 1589.

    It Might Have Been The Story of the Gunpowder Plot

  • I have often had an interest in the English recusant families, and recently I came across, quite by accident, the Constable family of Everingham who were one of the families that remained Catholic after the English reformation.

    The Constable Family of Everingham and the Catholic Chapel of Ss. Mary and Everilda

  • At the heart is Byrd's Mass for Five Voices, dating from the 1590s when he was a Catholic recusant, paired with Palestrina's richly woven motet Tu es Petrus, written for Rome and sounding slightly pallid and earthbound here.

    The Feast of Saint Peter the Apostle

  • I am a recusant transportation economist and regional planner, displaced from England by the abolition of the Greater London Council and a dislike of Thatcherism.

    15 « April « 2010 « Stephen Rees's blog

  • It can be a double whammy - from the seller and ebay. — recusant

    The End of eBay’s Egalitarianism - Bits Blog -

  • His vows, yes, he declares himself recusant, he is absent and unblessed.

    A River So Long

  • Reginald S. Mowbray, turned his recusant son Scrogie fairly out of doors; and the fellow would have paid for his plebeian spirit with a vengeance, had he not found refuge with a surviving partner of the original Scrogie of all, who still carried on the lucrative branch of traffic by which the family had been first enriched.

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • And besides, your father, while he in a manner prohibits me from returning to Edinburgh, gives me the strongest reasons for continuing a little while longer in this country, by holding out the hope that I may receive from your old friend, Mr. Herries of Birrenswork, some particulars concerning my origin, with which that ancient recusant seems to be acquainted.


  • Dorothy was presently heard screaming upstairs, or more probably up a ladder, to the cock loft, to which the recusant apprentice had made an untimely retreat; a muttered answer was returned, and soon after Conachar appeared in the eating apartment.

    The Fair Maid of Perth


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