\ ˈnā How to pronounce nay (audio) \

Definition of nay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 old-fashioned + literary used to correct what has just been said by replacing a word with one that is more accurate or appropriateThe letter made him happy, nay, ecstatic.Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man—very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy.— Emily Brontë… bodies of work that have shown themselves to be crucial to an understanding of the art—nay, the culture—of our times.— Carter Ratcliff
2 old-fashioned : no Only one councillor voted nay on the proposal. I dare not say him nay. [=I dare not say no to him] … he was young and too good-natured to say nay to any woman who wooed him.— Samuel Butler "Gold digging, sir?" "Nay, sir," answered I, starting, "I was merely—ahem!—merely—I say I was merely digging-round my chimney."— Herman Melville



Definition of nay (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for nay

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of nay in a Sentence

Adverb Nay, I do not wish to go. I was angry—nay, furious—at the way they were treating that poor dog. Noun 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: Adverb So, coming live from my Van Down By the River, Old Prospector's pickaxe in my right hand, Cowbell in my left, Opera Man wig on my head, El Nino thundering away above it, here are the eight footballers who could, nay should, host SNL., "8 Footballers Who Absolutely Have to Host Saturday Night Live," 9 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Unique among series-production vehicles, Rolls-Royces feature—nay, are built around—classic coach doors, even on two-door models like Wraith. Dan Neil, WSJ, "Rolls-Royce’s $400,000 Attempt at a Low-Key, ‘Minimalist’ Sedan," 30 Sep. 2020 The nay votes were all Democrats, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Ron Wyden of Oregon. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Senate approves Ludwig for federal court seat in Milwaukee," 9 Sep. 2020 Votes on March 22-23 in the Senate that drew Democratic nays were procedural in nature and were not a vote on the package itself, which was still being drafted – no formal bill existed. Katie Wadington, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Not true that no Democrats voted for coronavirus stimulus package," 25 Mar. 2020 Fair pricing, exercising yays and nays and getting around Is a roll of toilet paper going for $10?That's an example of price gouging and the state wants to know about it. Arlene Martinez, USA TODAY, "In California: What are shelter-in-place rules? And booze, yes, is now to-go," 20 Mar. 2020 But, when the yeas and nays were called, all but three of them heeded their inner Pelosis and voted to impeach. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "The Case for a Full Senate Trial," 22 Dec. 2019 The yeas and nays are required under Senate Resolution 483. NBC News, "Transcript: No Witnesses, New Timeline," 3 Feb. 2020 And thank you to all the senators for not asking for the yeas and nays. NBC News, "Transcript: The Bolton Facctor," 29 Jan. 2020 Nancy Pelosi: On this vote the yays are 230, the nays are 197. NBC News, "Transcript: Trump is Impeached," 20 Dec. 2019

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 at sense 2


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nay

Adverb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for nay

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for nay

Cite this Entry

“Nay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for nay


How to pronounce nay (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nay

Nglish: Translation of nay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nay for Arabic Speakers

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