Simple Definition of gainsay
: to deny or disagree with (something) : to show or say that (something) is not true
Examples of gainsay in a sentence
<it can't be gainsaid that most people wish they had more time and money>
<repeatedly tried to gainsay me, though every point I made was backed up by facts>
Did You Know?
You might have trouble figuring out "gainsay" if you're thinking of our modern "gain" plus "say." It might help to know that the "gain-" part is actually related to "against." In Old English, gēan- meant "against." From that came the Middle English "gain-." "Gain-" was joined with "sayen" ("say") to form "gainsayen," the Middle English predecessor of "gainsay." So when you see "gainsay," think "say against" - that is, "deny" or "contradict." When you do happen to come across "gainsay," it's likely to be in literature. "Gainsay" is a literary, somewhat old-fashioned word that isn't heard much in everyday modern speech.
Origin and Etymology of gainsay
Middle English gainsayen, from gain- against (from Old English gēan-) + sayen to say — more at again
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of gainsay
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