gainsay

play
verb gain·say \ˌgān-ˈsā\

Definition of gainsay

gainsaid

play \-ˈsād, -ˈsed\

gainsaying

play \-ˈsā-iŋ\

gainsays

play \-ˈsāz, -ˈsez\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to declare to be untrue or invalid

  3. 2 :  contradict, oppose

gainsayer

noun

Examples of gainsay in a sentence

  1. <it can't be gainsaid that most people wish they had more time and money>

  2. <repeatedly tried to gainsay me, though every point I made was backed up by facts>

Did You Know?

You might have trouble figuring out "gainsay" if you're thinking of our modern "gain" plus "say." It might help to know that the "gain-" part is actually related to "against." In Old English, gēan- meant "against." From that came the Middle English "gain-." "Gain-" was joined with "sayen" ("say") to form "gainsayen," the Middle English predecessor of "gainsay." So when you see "gainsay," think "say against" - that is, "deny" or "contradict." When you do happen to come across "gainsay," it's likely to be in literature. "Gainsay" is a literary, somewhat old-fashioned word that isn't heard much in everyday modern speech.

Origin and Etymology of gainsay

Middle English gainsayen, from gain- against (from Old English gēan-) + sayen to say — more at again


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of gainsay

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>.

GAINSAY Defined for English Language Learners

gainsay

play
verb gain·say \ˌgān-ˈsā\

Definition of gainsay for English Language Learners

  • : to deny or disagree with (something) : to show or say that (something) is not true


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