Difference Between Renounce and Denounce

Key Difference – Renounce vs Denounce

Renounce and denounce are two words that can often be confusing although there is a key difference between these two words. First let us focus on the meanings of renounce and denounce. Renounce is to formally give up on something. This could be a title that the individual has, a belief system or even an action. Denounce, on the other hand, is to publicly declare something as wrong or evil. It can even be a form of condemnation. As you can see, there is a key difference between the words renounce and denounce. Renounce expresses the idea of giving up something while, denounce expresses the idea of condemning something. This article attempts to highlight the difference between the two words with examples.

What is Renounce?

Renounce simply denotes to formally give up something. This could be a title that the individual has or even the ownership of something. Renouncing something is usually completed in a very formal manner with an announcement. This can be used to bring out the idea of disowning as well.

After much thought, he decided to renounce his title and move away from the Citadel.

She renounced her position as chairperson of the association.

Renounce can also be used when we want to express about giving up on a position, point of view, or belief.

The colonial masters demanded the people to renounce their folk religions and embrace the colonial religion.

After the accident, she renounced her faith in higher powers.

Renounce is used for giving up on a particular activity or habit.

He renounced gambling.

They had no choice but to renounce smoking.

Difference Between Renounce and Denounce

He renounced gambling.

What is Denounce?

The word denounce can be used to publicly declare something to be wrong and evil. For example, in the ancient days witchcraft was publicly denounced by the church. Such people were often burnt at the stake. This was considered as the suitable punishment for witchcraft. Many innocent people were also killed in this manner due to the act of denouncing witchcraft as evil.

Other than this, denounce can be used for other instances where something is publicly declared as wrong. In most societies, excessive consumption of alcoholism, prostitution, and similar activities are denounced.

Denounce can refer to speaking against someone or something as well.

He denounced the actions of the minister.

The people denounced the new policies of the government.

As you can see, renounce and denounce are very different words and carry a number of meanings. This difference can be summarized as follows.

Key Difference - Renounce vs Denounce

Witchcraft was denounced in the ancient days.

What is the difference between Renounce and Denounce?


Renounce: Renounce is to formally give up on something.

Denounce: Denounce is to publicly declare something as wrong or evil.


Renounce: Renounce can refer to a title, position, possession, belief system, a point of view or even a habit.

Denounce: Denounce can refer to an activity, action, person or practice.


Image Courtesy:

1. “Gambling chips” by Jamie Adams from Hull, United Kingdom – Poker chips. [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

2. “TheWitch-no2” by Baker, Joseph E., ca. 1837-1914, artist.. [Public Domain] via Commons