\ ˈnā How to pronounce nay (audio) \

Definition of nay

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: no Only one councillor voted nay on the proposal.



Definition of nay (Entry 2 of 3)

2a : a negative reply or vote The nays outnumbered the ayes, and so the measure did not pass.
b : one who votes no He voted with the nays.

Definition of nay (Entry 3 of 3)

: not merely this but also : not only so but the letter made him happy, nay, ecstatic

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Synonyms & Antonyms for nay

Synonyms: Adverb

even, indeed, truly, verily, yea

Synonyms: Noun

negative, no, non placet

Antonyms: Noun

positive, yea, yes

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Examples of nay in a Sentence


Nay, I do not wish to go. I was angry—nay, furious—at the way they were treating that poor dog.


when the votes were tallied, it was 241 yeas and 54 nays gave a resounding nay to the request for a mixed-company camping trip
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The vote failed with 46 yeas, 41 nays and 13 not voting. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Beware political infighting; Missing crucial Senate work; BLM move is suspect; The support Hong Kong needs (7/31/19)," 31 July 2019 The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis with 67 yeas to 28 nays. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Trump signs budget deal and suspends debt ceiling until 2021," 2 Aug. 2019 The legislation was passed on a calling of the yeas and nays rather than a roll call vote. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Rep. Slotkin's bill to provide adequate food, water to border detainees approved," 25 July 2019 The mere mention of restaurant dress codes can unleash a torrent of yeas and nays. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Does the lack of linens in restaurants present a food-safety issue?," 24 July 2019 The Senate's bipartisan bill passed with 84 yeas to 8 nays, and includes negotiated border security funding language. CBS News, "Nancy Pelosi says migrant children must be cared for amid funding battle," 27 June 2019 The nay was made from thick reeds that grew wild in the region stretching from Ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia – at the heart of which lies modern-day Jordan. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "In rediscovered reed flute, a soulful link to Jordanian identity," 13 July 2018 The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, 85 yeas to 10 nays (NDAA) Monday, and in the legislation included language that would ban Chinese telecom giant ZTE from conducting business in the United States. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "If only we had a Congress," 19 June 2018 Evidently that turned some of the ayes heard by the Senate president into nays, because the proposal was defeated, 21 to 17. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, "Here Is Why Florida Has So Much Trouble Passing Gun Laws," 4 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of nay


13th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1560, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nay

Adverb, Noun, and Conjunction

Middle English, from Old Norse nei, from ne not + ei ever — more at no, aye

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Dictionary Entries near nay







naya paisa

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Time Traveler for nay

The first known use of nay was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for nay



English Language Learners Definition of nay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

old-fashioned + literary used to correct what you have said by replacing a word with one that is more accurate or appropriate



English Language Learners Definition of nay (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : a no vote


\ ˈnā How to pronounce nay (audio) \

Kids Definition of nay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: no entry 1 sense 2 Are you coming? Nay, I'm not.


plural nays

Kids Definition of nay (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : no entry 3 sense 2 The final vote was 3 ayes and 6 nays.

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More from Merriam-Webster on nay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nay

Spanish Central: Translation of nay

Nglish: Translation of nay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nay

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a bell tower

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