de·​ny di-ˈnī How to pronounce deny (audio)
denied; denying; denies

transitive verb

: to declare (something) to be untrue
They denied the allegations.
: to refuse to admit or acknowledge (something) : disavow
denied responsibility for the vandalism
: to give a negative answer to
denying the petitioners
: to refuse to grant
deny a request
was denied a refund
: to restrain (oneself) from gratification of desires
unwilling to deny himself the foods that he loves
: to refuse to accept the existence, truth, or validity of
There's no denying her expertise.
You can't deny that he's a good singer.
medical : to report or note the absence of (a symptom)
The patient denies pruritus …David A. Fisher
archaic : decline
denyingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for deny

deny, gainsay, contradict, contravene mean to refuse to accept as true or valid.

deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede, or to acknowledge the existence or claims of.

denied the charges

gainsay implies disputing the truth of what another has said.

no one can gainsay her claims

contradict implies an open or flat denial.

her account contradicts his

contravene implies not so much an intentional opposition as some inherent incompatibility.

laws that contravene tradition

Example Sentences

He denied the report that he would be quitting his job. She denies all the charges that have been made against her. The police deny that racism is a problem in the department. Yes, I was there. I don't deny it. The judge denied their request. a government that denies its citizens basic freedoms See More
Recent Examples on the Web Marrocco pleaded guilty to trying to coerce a Macomb County developer into buying tickets to a campaign fundraiser by threatening to delay or deny the approval of the developer’s permit. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, 27 Jan. 2023 The letter said the attorney general’s office has reviewed reports MSG Entertainment has used facial recognition to identify and deny entry to multiple lawyers affiliated with law firms involved in ongoing litigation with the company. Samantha Beech, CNN, 26 Jan. 2023 Having the confidence to accept or deny a request will give you more control and help establish boundaries at work. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, 24 Jan. 2023 The bank consented to the fine, a Popular Bank spokeswoman said, though the Fed order said the bank didn’t formally admit to or deny the allegations. Richard Vanderford, WSJ, 24 Jan. 2023 The current language of that law specifies that theaters, music halls and concert halls cannot deny entry to a ticket holder who arrives at a venue with a legitimate ticket. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 23 Jan. 2023 That statement did not deny that Ms. Javice had falsified data and then lied about it, so Mr. Spiro sent another one. Ron Lieber, New York Times, 21 Jan. 2023 Many either haven't heard back from the app at all when reaching out for help, or the app will deny people's claims of fraud altogether. Kurt Knutsson, Fox News, 21 Jan. 2023 His message, delivered in person, was based on a U.S. intelligence assessment and is credited with helping Ukraine prepare to defend the airport and deny Russia a foothold needed to capture Kyiv. John Hudson, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English denien, borrowed from Anglo-French denier, deneier (also continental Old French), from de- de- (reinforcing the meaning of the base verb) + nier "to renounce, deny, refuse" (after Latin dēnegāre "to deny"), going back to Latin negāre "to say (with the negative of a conjoined clause), deny, say no" — more at negate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deny was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near deny

Cite this Entry

“Deny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​ny di-ˈnī How to pronounce deny (audio)
denied; denying
: to declare not to be true : contradict
deny a report
: to refuse to grant
deny a request
: to refuse to accept the existence or truth of

Legal Definition


transitive verb
denied; denying
: to declare untrue
a party must…admit or deny the allegationsFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(b)
compare avoid
: to refuse to grant
denied the motion for a new trial

More from Merriam-Webster on deny

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