gainsay was our Word of the Day on 09/06/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of gainsay in a Sentence
it can't be gainsaid that most people wish they had more time and money
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 yein seyen, gein-seyen “to speak in opposition to, deny,” from yein-, gein- “away, back, against, in opposition to” (going back to Old English gēan- “in opposition to,” or marking returning or reciprocal action, going back to Germanic *gagna-) + seyen “to 1say” — more at again
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of gainsay
GAINSAY Defined for English Language Learners
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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