What is the Meaning of Renege?

Man holding out a contract on a table

Renege is becoming an increasingly popular word. So, what is the meaning of reneging?

Renege Definition in the English Dictionary

/rɪˈneɪɡ/, /rɪˈnɪɡ, -ˈneɡ/, /rəˈneɪɡ/ (UK pronunciation)

In the English language, Renege can mean different things based on the context it is used in.

If used during a card game, it means, "to play a card that is not of the suit led when one can follow suit" or it means that a player is breaking another rule in the game. 

In other contexts, the definition of renege is, "to go back on one's word" or "to go back on a promise or commitment."

Synonyms of reneging are: betray, break, retract, pull out of, withdraw, disown, revoke.

Etymology Dictionary on Renege

In the 1540s, renegue meant "deny, renounce, abandon." This was taken from the Medieval Latin renegāre. Renegare was the prefix re + negare. Negare meaning to refuse. 

The meaning of "change one's mind, go back on," was created in 1784. 

Example Sentences 

She reneged on her home offer.

The buyers will be sued if they renege on the contract.

He is choosing to renege on the internship offer.

After the salesman tried reneging on the offer, I was not comfortable.

Employer Context

Now's the time to learn what the new word renege means, but in an employer context!

Reneging is used in a workplace setting when a person accepts a job offer (through email, letter, signed contract, verbal agreement, etc) but then declines the job offer later. 

This happens frequently, especially when it comes to internships. Internships typically hire 8 months before the start date. This results in more time for students to rethink a decision, look at other companies, etc. 

If your company is struggling with interns and early grads reneging on offers, it can be indicative of a greater problem in engaging with them throughout the post-offer journey. 

To learn more about the impacts of positive post-offer journeys, read more on the Scholars website. To speak with an expert, book a meeting here.

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