verb de·ny \ di-ˈnī , dē- \
|Updated on: 20 Jul 2018

Definition of deny

denied; denying
1 : to declare untrue
  • denied the allegation
2 : to refuse to admit or acknowledge : disavow
  • denied responsibility for the vandalism
3 a : to give a negative answer to
  • denying the petitioners
b : to refuse to grant
  • deny a request
  • was denied a refund
c : to restrain (oneself) from gratification of desires
  • deny himself the foods that he loves
4 archaic : decline
5 : 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.


play \-ˈnī-iŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of deny in a Sentence

  1. He denied the report that he would be quitting his job.

  2. She denies all the charges that have been made against her.

  3. The police deny that racism is a problem in the department.

  4. Yes, I was there. I don't deny it.

  5. The judge denied their request.

  6. a government that denies its citizens basic freedoms

Recent Examples of deny from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of deny

Middle English, from Anglo-French deneier, denier, from Latin denegare, from de- + negare to deny — more at negate

Synonym Discussion of 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

DENY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of deny for English Language Learners

  • : to say that something is not true

  • : to refuse to accept or admit (something)

  • : to refuse to give (something) to someone : to prevent someone from having or receiving (something)

DENY Defined for Kids


verb de·ny \ di-ˈnī \

Definition of deny for Students

denied; denying
1 : to declare not to be true
  • “Well, they were a lazy lot—that much you can't deny.”
  • —Mary Norton, The Borrowers
2 : to refuse to grant
  • deny a request
3 : to refuse to admit
  • deny guilt

Word Root of deny

The Latin word negāre, meaning “to deny” or “to say no,” and its form negātus give us the root neg. Words from the Latin negāre have something to do with saying no. Anything negative, such as a reply to a question, denies something or responds by saying no. To renege is to go back on, or deny, an agreement or promise. Even the last letters of deny, to declare something to be false, come from negāre.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb de·ny

legal Definition of deny

denied; denying
1 : to declare untrue
  • a party must…admit or deny the allegations
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(b)
— compare avoid
2 : to refuse to grant
  • denied the motion for a new trial

Seen and Heard

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one who attends or assists a leader

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