denial

noun

de·​ni·​al di-ˈnī(-ə)l How to pronounce denial (audio)
dē-
1
: refusal to satisfy a request or desire
the denial of privileges
2
a(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
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
Phrases
in denial
: refusing to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant
a patient in denial about his health problems

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The findings underscored a level of denial on the part of patients, in which doctors were co-conspirators, Weeks thought. Jessica Bartlett, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Nov. 2022 The comments stoked backlash from environmentalists, who accused Malpass of climate denial. Max Zahn, ABC News, 13 Oct. 2022 Meanwhile, Abrams is working overtime to address allegations of election denial, as journalists and critics continue to compare her rhetoric immediately following the 2018 race to that of Trump post-2020. Brigid Kennedy, The Week, 3 Oct. 2022 One other thing is always included in the ritual serving of a Trump book: the pro forma statement of denial from his camp that any iota of what’s in them is true. Bill Carter, CNN, 30 Sep. 2022 It’s often disparaged as a kind of denial of emotion that is inauthentic. Brent Lang, Variety, 26 Sep. 2022 Despite all this, Mr. Biden’s rhetoric on the evils of election denial was untempered last week. Karl Rove, WSJ, 7 Sep. 2022 The existential splash canvas and sweaty palms of Heaven 17’s 1981 jam surrender to a more upholstered sound that questioned less, falling into the mauve cushions of denial that would become the late ’80s. Ed Schrader, SPIN, 6 Sep. 2022 The only mention of the possibility of denial was buried in disclaimers or in false claims that there was a 90% chance of approval, the FTC said. Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 3 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

deny + -al entry 2

First Known Use

1528, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of denial was in 1528

Dictionary Entries Near denial

Cite this Entry

“Denial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/denial. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

denial

noun

de·​ni·​al di-ˈnī(-ə)l How to pronounce denial (audio)
1
: a refusal to grant something asked for
2
: a refusal to admit the truth of a statement : contradiction
a flat denial of the charges
3
: a refusal to accept or believe in something
make a public denial of political beliefs once held
4
: a cutting down or limiting of a person's own desires or activity
denial of one's appetite
in denial
: refusing to accept or believe in something bad
the student was in denial about his poor grade

Medical Definition

denial

noun

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

Legal Definition

denial

noun

de·​ni·​al di-ˈnī-əl How to pronounce denial (audio)
1
: refusal to grant or allow something
denial of due process
denial of a motion
2
a
: 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
: a denial of all the allegations in a complaint
: a denial of all the allegations of a particular paragraph or group of paragraphs in a complaint
specific denial
: general denial in this entry
: a denial of parts of an allegation in a complaint

More from Merriam-Webster on denial

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