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verb, de·fy \di-ˈfī, dē-\

Simple Definition of defy

  • : to refuse to obey (something or someone)

  • : to make (something) very difficult or impossible

  • : to resist or fight (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of defy


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  to challenge to combat

  3. 2 :  to challenge to do something considered impossible :  dare

  4. 3 :  to confront with assured power of resistance :  disregard <defy public opinion>

  5. 4 :  to resist attempts at :  withstand <the paintings defy classification>

Examples of defy in a sentence

  1. She defied her parents and dropped out of school.

  2. The group has continued to defy all efforts to stop them.

Origin of defy

Middle English, to renounce faith in, challenge, from Anglo-French desfier, defier, from des- de- + fier to entrust, from Vulgar Latin *fidare, alteration of Latin fidere to trust — more at bide

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with defy

aby, agley, air-dry, Alai, ally, Altai, anti, apply, assai, awry, aye-aye, Bacchae, Baha'i, banzai, barfly, bee fly, Belgae, belie, bigeye, big lie, black eye, blackfly, black tie, blow-dry, blowby, blowfly, blue-sky, Bo Hai, bone-dry, bonsai, botfly, Brunei, buckeye, bugeye, bye-bye, canaille, catchfly, cat's-eye, Chennai, chess pie, Chiang Mai, cockeye, cockshy, come by, comply, cow pie, crane fly, cross-eye, deadeye, decry, deep-fry, deep-sky, deerfly, Delphi, deny, descry, do by, dong quai, drip-dry, drop by, dry eye, dry fly, elhi, Eli, espy, face fly, firefly, fish-eye, flesh fly, flyby, fly high, forby, freeze-dry, frogeye, fruit fly, gadfly, gallfly, get by, GI, glass eye, go by, good-bye, greenfly, grisaille, gun-shy, Haggai, Hawkeye, heel fly, hereby, hi-fi, hog-tie, horn fly, horsefly, housefly, imply, jai alai, July, Karzai, Kasai, knee-high, lanai, Lanai, lay-by, lay by, Lehigh, let fly, Levi, lie by, magpie, mai tai, mao-tai, Masai, mayfly, medfly, mind's eye, Moirai, mooneye, Mumbai, my eye, nearby, necktie, nilgai, nisi, outbye, outcry, oxeye, pad thai, Panay, panfry, Parcae, piece-dye, pigsty, pinkeye, Po Hai, pop eye, pop fly, potpie, put by, Qinghai, quasi, rabbi, red-eye, rely, reply, rib eye, ride high, rocaille, rough-dry, run dry, Sakai, sand fly, sci-fi, screw eye, semi, Sendai, serai, set by, shanghai, Shanghai, sheep's eye, shoofly, shut-eye, Sinai, sky-high, small-fry, stand by, standby, stir-fry, string tie, supply, swear by, terai, test-fly, thereby, tie-dye, titi, tongue-tie, Transkei, twist tie, two-ply, untie, vat dye, Versailles, walleye, well-nigh, whereby, whitefly, wild rye, wise guy



noun, de·fy \di-ˈfī, ˈdē-ˌ\

Definition of defy

plural defies


First Known Use of defy


DEFY Defined for Kids


verb de·fy \di-ˈfī\

Definition of defy for Students


  1. 1 :  to refuse boldly to obey or yield to <The protesters defied orders to leave.>

  2. 2 :  to challenge to do something thought to be impossible :  dare <I defy you to explain the trick.>

  3. 3 :  to resist attempts at :  withstand <The scene defies description.>

Seen and Heard

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to manage or play awkwardly

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soothe disapprove reduce perplex
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