1

defy

verb de·fy \ di-ˈfī , dē- \
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

Definition of defy

defied; defying
transitive verb
1 archaic :to challenge to combat
2 :to challenge to do something considered impossible :dare
  • defied us to name a better movie
3 :to confront with assured power of resistance :disregard
  • defy public opinion
  • in trouble for defying a court order
4 :to resist attempts at :withstand
  • the paintings defy classification
  • a decision that defies all logic

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.

Recent Examples of defy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology 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

defy Synonyms

Synonyms
disobey, mock, rebel (against)
Antonyms
comply (with), conform (to), follow, mind, obey
Related Words
disoblige; mutiny (against), revolt (against); disregard, ignore, overlook, overpass, pass over, tune out; brush off, dismiss, flout, pooh-pooh (also pooh), reject, scoff (at), scorn, shrug off, wink (at); breach, break, infringe, transgress, violate; buck, combat, contest, dispute, fight, oppose, resist, withstand
Near Antonyms
capitulate (to), concede (to), defer (to), goose-step (to), serve, stoop (to), submit (to), surrender (to), yield (to); cooperate (with); keep, observe; accede (to), acquiesce (to), agree (to), assent (to), oblige; attend, hear, heed, listen (to), mark, note, notice, regard, watch

2

defy

noun de·fy \ di-ˈfī , ˈdē-ˌ \

Definition of defy

plural defies
:challenge, defiance
  • observers took this to be a form of defy
  • —Jack Alexander

Recent Examples of defy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of defy

see 1defy



DEFY Defined for English Language Learners

defy

verb

Definition of defy for English Language Learners

  • : to refuse to obey (something or someone)

  • : to make (something) very difficult or impossible

  • : to resist or fight (something)


DEFY Defined for Kids

defy

verb de·fy \ di-ˈfī \

Definition of defy for Students

defied; defying
1 :to refuse boldly to obey or yield to
  • The protesters defied orders to leave.
2 :to challenge to do something thought to be impossible :dare
  • I defy you to explain the trick.
3 :to resist attempts at :withstand
  • The scene defies description.


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