denial

noun de·ni·al \ di-ˈnī(-ə)l , dē- \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of denial

1 : refusal to satisfy a request or desire
  • the denial of privileges
2 a (1) : refusal to admit the truth or reality of something (such as a statement or charge)
  • their denial of the divine right of kings
(2) : assertion that an allegation is false
  • her denial that she was involved
b : refusal to acknowledge a person or a thing : disavowal
  • his denial of his youngest son
3 law : the opposing by the defendant of an allegation (see allegation 2) of the opposite party in a lawsuit
  • their denial of the plaintiff's allegations
4 : self-denial
  • … a man in denial about his receding hairline.
  • Playboy
5 logic : negation 1b
6 psychology : a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality
in denial
: refusing to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant
  • a patient in denial about his health problems

Examples of denial in a Sentence

  1. She issued a flat denial of the charges made against her.

  2. The accusations have met with angry denials from school officials.

  3. The city government has been heavily criticized for its denial of the seriousness of the situation.

  4. The hardest part of the punishment was the denial of his right to see his children.

  5. The group is protesting the denial of voting rights to convicted felons.

  6. The lawyers were disappointed by the court's denial of their motion to dismiss the case.

Recent Examples of denial from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of denial

see deny



DENIAL Defined for English Language Learners

denial

noun

Definition of denial for English Language Learners

  • : a statement saying that something is not true or real : a statement in which someone denies something

  • psychology : a condition in which someone will not admit that something sad, painful, etc., is true or real

  • : the act of not allowing someone to have something


DENIAL Defined for Kids

denial

noun de·ni·al \ di-ˈnī-əl \

Definition of denial for Students

1 : a refusal to give or agree to something asked for
  • a denial of the request
2 : a refusal to admit the truth of a statement
  • a denial of the accusation
3 : a refusal to accept or believe in someone or something He repeated his denial of the existence of ghosts.
4 : a cutting down or limiting
  • a denial of his appetite

Medical Dictionary

denial

noun de·ni·al \ di-ˈnī(-ə)l \

medical Definition of denial

: a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality

Law Dictionary

denial

noun de·ni·al \ di-ˈnī-əl \

legal Definition of denial

1 : refusal to grant or allow something
  • denial of due process
  • denial of a motion
2 a : an assertion that an allegation is false
b : a defense asserting that an opposing party's allegations are false — compare affirmative defense at defense 2a, traverse
Note: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, allegations that are not denied are taken as admitted, and a statement that a party has insufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of an allegation is taken as a denial. A denial must sufficiently state which allegations or parts of allegations are being denied.
argumentative denial \ˌär-gyə-ˈmen-tə-tiv-\
: a denial that asserts facts inconsistent with an allegation made by an adverse party
general denial
1 : a denial of all the allegations in a complaint
2 : a denial of all the allegations of a particular paragraph or group of paragraphs in a complaint
specific denial
1 : general denial in this entry
2 : a denial of parts of an allegation in a complaint


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