denial

noun
de·​ni·​al | \ di-ˈnī(-ə)l How to pronounce denial (audio) , dē- \

Definition of denial

1 : refusal to satisfy a request or desire the denial of privileges
2a(1) : refusal to admit the truth or reality of something (such as a statement or charge) their denial of the divine right of kings
(2) : assertion that an allegation is false her denial that she was involved
b : refusal to acknowledge a person or a thing : disavowal his denial of his youngest son
3 law : the opposing by the defendant of an allegation (see allegation sense 2) of the opposite party in a lawsuit their denial of the plaintiff's allegations
4 : self-denial … a man in denial about his receding hairline.Playboy
5 logic : negation sense 1b
6 psychology : a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality
in denial
: refusing to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant a patient in denial about his health problems

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Examples of denial in a Sentence

She issued a flat denial of the charges made against her. The accusations have met with angry denials from school officials. The city government has been heavily criticized for its denial of the seriousness of the situation. The hardest part of the punishment was the denial of his right to see his children. The group is protesting the denial of voting rights to convicted felons. The lawyers were disappointed by the court's denial of their motion to dismiss the case.
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Recent Examples on the Web After years of denial under Trump, experts expect Biden to confront domestic extremism. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Come on, USA, everyone's doing it 💉," 9 Dec. 2020 These attacks on climate research are in keeping with the Trump administration’s broad pattern of science denial. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "How Biden Might Reverse Trump’s Attacks on Climate Research," 11 Nov. 2020 But there is another form of denial that may be just as crucial to our future. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "The Election Is a Morality Play in Which Biden Must Defeat Not Only Trump but Trumpism," 3 Nov. 2020 Over the last month, Facebook has banned buying advertising that supports anti-vaccination theories, further cracked down on QAnon’s presence and outlawed all forms of Holocaust denial on the platform. Mike Isaac, New York Times, "TikTok Cracks Down on QAnon and Hate Speech," 23 Oct. 2020 The president’s decision to completely omit the Lekki shootings from his speech was in line with the army’s official stance of denial despite a wealth of video footage which contradicts this claim. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "A tone-deaf speech by Nigeria’s president Buhari missed a chance for empathy amid national protests," 23 Oct. 2020 For the past four years President Trump and the Republicans have pushed a policy of denial. John Mcwhorter, Washington Post, "Biden Should ...," 15 Jan. 2021 Even as cases surged, DeSantis stayed the course of denial. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Instead Of Addressing The Florida Vaccine Disaster, Ron DeSantis Berated A Woman Journalist," 5 Jan. 2021 Jodi Doering, a nurse at a South Dakota emergency room, said some people dying at the hospital are still in denial about the virus. Eric Levenson, CNN, "These GOP governors long resisted masks and coronavirus rules. Now their states are in crisis.," 17 Nov. 2020

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

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First Known Use of denial

1528, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for denial

deny + -al entry 2

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Learn More about denial

Statistics for denial

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Denial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denial. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for denial

denial

noun

English Language Learners Definition of denial

: a statement saying that something is not true or real : a statement in which someone denies something
psychology : a condition in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc., is true or real
: the act of not allowing someone to have something

denial

noun
de·​ni·​al | \ di-ˈnī-əl How to pronounce denial (audio) \

Kids Definition of denial

1 : a refusal to give or agree to something asked for a denial of the request
2 : a refusal to admit the truth of a statement a denial of the accusation
3 : a refusal to accept or believe in someone or something He repeated his denial of the existence of ghosts.
4 : a cutting down or limiting a denial of his appetite

denial

noun
de·​ni·​al | \ di-ˈnī(-ə)l How to pronounce denial (audio) \

Medical Definition of denial

: a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality

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denial

noun
de·​ni·​al | \ di-ˈnī-əl How to pronounce denial (audio) \

Legal Definition of denial

1 : refusal to grant or allow something denial of due process denial of a motion
2a : an assertion that an allegation is false
b : a defense asserting that an opposing party's allegations are false — compare affirmative defense at defense sense 2a, traverse

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, allegations that are not denied are taken as admitted, and a statement that a party has insufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation is taken as a denial. A denial must sufficiently state which allegations or parts of allegations are being denied.

argumentative denial \ ˌär-​gyə-​ˈmen-​tə-​tiv-​ \
: a denial that asserts facts inconsistent with an allegation made by an adverse party
general denial
1 : a denial of all the allegations in a complaint
2 : a denial of all the allegations of a particular paragraph or group of paragraphs in a complaint
specific denial
1 : general denial in this entry
2 : a denial of parts of an allegation in a complaint

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Comments on denial

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