is derived from the Middle French word recuser
, which comes from the Latin recusare
, meaning "to refuse." English speakers began using recuse
with the meaning "to refuse or reject" in the 14th century. By the 15th
century, the term had acquired the meaning "to challenge or object to
(a judge)." The current legal use of recuse
as a term
specifically meaning "to disqualify (oneself) as a judge" didn't come
into frequent use until the 19th century.
Broader applications soon
followed from this sense—you can now recuse yourself from such things as
debates and decisions as well as court cases.
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