gainsay

play
verb gain·say \ˌgān-ˈsā\

Definition of gainsay

gainsaid

play \ˌgān-ˈsād, -ˈsed\;

gainsaying

play \ˌgān-ˈsā-iŋ\;

gainsays

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

  3. 2 :  contradict, oppose did not dare to gainsay the king

gainsayer

noun

gainsay was our Word of the Day on 09/06/2012. Hear the podcast!

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 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

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

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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lacking social experience or grace

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