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Rebuttal vs. Rejoinder — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 9, 2024
A rebuttal is a counter-argument presented to disprove or counter another's statement, while a rejoinder is a quick, often witty, response or reply to criticism or an argument.
Rebuttal vs. Rejoinder — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Rebuttal and Rejoinder


Key Differences

A rebuttal directly challenges an argument with evidence or reasoning to disprove it. A rejoinder, on the other hand, is a swift response that directly addresses a previous statement, usually in a sharp or clever manner.
Rebuttals are common in structured debates or legal settings where participants systematically refute opposing points. Rejoinders often appear in less formal exchanges and are known for their pointed and sometimes humorous nature.
Rebuttals are generally longer and more detailed, focusing on dismantling the logic or evidence presented in the original claim. Rejoinders are often shorter and can serve as quick comebacks, not necessarily focused on providing substantial evidence.
Rebuttals aim to thoroughly refute opposing arguments and establish the correctness of one's own stance. Rejoinders may refute or acknowledge the opposing point but always aim to deliver a direct response.

Comparison Chart


Direct response


Disprove or refute
Respond or retort


Formal debates, legal arguments
Formal or informal conversations


Usually longer, detailed
Often shorter, concise


Logical, evidence-based
Often sharp, witty

Compare with Definitions


A systematic counter-argument to refute another argument.
His detailed rebuttal highlighted inconsistencies in her logic.


A sharp or witty reply to a criticism.
She delivered a clever rejoinder to the heckler in the crowd.


A response that provides contrary evidence.
The defense attorney's rebuttal introduced new witness testimony.


A brief retort, sometimes humorous or sarcastic.
The comedian's rejoinder to his critics was full of satire.


An argument that dismantles opposing points.
The rebuttal emphasized flaws in the prosecution's case.


A quick response directly addressing a previous remark.
His rejoinder to the criticism demonstrated his command of facts.


A counter-statement intended to weaken the original argument.
Her rebuttal contested the research methods used in the study.


A return argument that refutes an earlier statement.
The author's rejoinder addressed each point raised in the review.


A refutation presented to defend one's position.
In his rebuttal, the politician clarified his stance on the issue.


A prompt reply that can defend or challenge a viewpoint.
The teacher's rejoinder encouraged the student to think critically.


In law, rebuttal is a form of evidence that is presented to contradict or nullify other evidence that has been presented by an adverse party. By analogy the same term is used in politics and public affairs to refer to the informal process by which statements, designed to refute or negate specific arguments (see Counterclaim) put forward by opponents, are deployed in the media.In law, special rules apply to rebuttal; rebuttal evidence or rebuttal witnesses must be confined solely to the subject matter of the evidence rebutted.


A reply, especially a sharp or witty one
She would have made some cutting rejoinder but none came to mind


The act of rebutting.


An answer, especially to a reply.


A statement made in rebutting.


(legal) The defendant's answer to the replication.


The act of contradicting something by making a contrary argument, or presenting contrary evidence.


A response that answers another response.


A statement, designed to refute or negate specific arguments put forward by opponents.


A quick response that involves disagreement or is witty, especially an answer to a question.


(legal) A pleading by a defendant in reply to the evidence put forward by a plaintiff or the prosecution.


Re-insertion, typically after allowance of a patent application, of patent claims that had been withdrawn from examination under a restriction requirement.


The giving of evidence on the part of a plaintiff to destroy the effect of evidence introduced by the defendant in the same suit.


(intransitive) To issue a rejoinder.


The speech act of refuting by offering a contrary contention or argument


(transitive) To say as a rejoinder.


(law) a pleading by the defendant in reply to a plaintiff's surrejoinder


An answer to a reply; or, in general, an answer or reply.


The defendant's answer to the plaintiff's replication.


To make a rejoinder.


A quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one);
It brought a sharp rejoinder from the teacher


(law) a pleading made by a defendant in response to the plaintiff's replication

Common Curiosities

Can a rejoinder be humorous?

Yes, rejoinders often have a witty or humorous edge.

Does a rebuttal require evidence?

Yes, providing evidence strengthens a rebuttal's credibility.

Is a rebuttal always long?

Not necessarily, but it tends to be detailed to effectively refute an argument.

Are rejoinders and rebuttals interchangeable?

No, they serve distinct purposes in argumentation and communication.

Can a rebuttal be subjective?

It should ideally rely on objective reasoning and evidence to be convincing.

Do rejoinders aim to disprove?

Not exclusively, they are more about replying directly to a point.

Where are rebuttals most commonly used?

In debates, academic writing, and legal arguments.

Are rejoinders used in formal debates?

Sometimes, but they are more common in less formal exchanges.

Can rejoinders occur in writing?

Yes, rejoinders can be written responses to reviews, letters, or articles.

Is a rejoinder always a negative response?

Not necessarily, but it's often used to challenge criticism or opposing views.

Is a rejoinder similar to a retort?

Yes, both are quick, pointed replies to a statement or criticism.

Are rebuttals commonly used in essays?

Yes, rebuttals are often used to counter potential counterarguments in essays.

Do rejoinders require factual accuracy?

It's beneficial, but a rejoinder is often more focused on delivering a direct response.

What skills help in writing a good rebuttal?

Critical thinking, logical reasoning, and evidence-based argumentation.

Can a rejoinder change someone's opinion?

Potentially, but it is more about directly addressing a point made.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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