de·​ny di-ˈnī How to pronounce deny (audio)
denied; denying; denies

transitive verb

: to declare (something) to be untrue
They denied the allegations.
: to refuse to admit or acknowledge (something) : disavow
denied responsibility for the vandalism
: to give a negative answer to
denying the petitioners
: to refuse to grant
deny a request
was denied a refund
: to restrain (oneself) from gratification of desires
unwilling to deny himself the foods that he loves
: to refuse to accept the existence, truth, or validity of
There's no denying her expertise.
You can't deny that he's a good singer.
medical : to report or note the absence of (a symptom)
The patient denies pruritus …David A. Fisher
archaic : decline
denyingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for deny

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

Examples of deny in a Sentence

He denied the report that he would be quitting his job. She denies all the charges that have been made against her. The police deny that racism is a problem in the department. Yes, I was there. I don't deny it. The judge denied their request. a government that denies its citizens basic freedoms
Recent Examples on the Web The Masters dubiously said 2009 champion Angel Cabrera could play, but his visa was denied. Greg Cote, Miami Herald, 7 Apr. 2024 Hamas has denied hiding in hospitals and other civilian structures and CNN cannot independently verify either claim. Vasco Cotovio, CNN, 7 Apr. 2024 On this day, the house was recovering from Ram Dass having been denied psilocybin owing to his health. Christopher Fiorello, The New Yorker, 6 Apr. 2024 On the song, Roan is dating a girl who is trying to deny her own feelings for Roan, and likely for women altogether. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 5 Apr. 2024 Prison officials ultimately denied permission to him and four other plaintiffs to be exempt from the lockdown order, citing its own calendar that did not list the event as a holy day. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2024 Pham recently granted some of those disqualifications — including most cases dealing with the Racial Justice Act — and denied others. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2024 The trove, proving acts long denied by state authorities, opened the way for a widespread legal reckoning. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 After that board meeting, before the girl started seventh grade, her parents warned Tadlock and middle school principal Ryan McBurney that denying the student access to the girls' bathrooms would violate federal law. Rory Linnane, Journal Sentinel, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deny.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English denien, borrowed from Anglo-French denier, deneier (also continental Old French), from de- de- (reinforcing the meaning of the base verb) + nier "to renounce, deny, refuse" (after Latin dēnegāre "to deny"), going back to Latin negāre "to say (with the negative of a conjoined clause), deny, say no" — more at negate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deny was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near deny

Cite this Entry

“Deny.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​ny di-ˈnī How to pronounce deny (audio)
denied; denying
: to declare not to be true : contradict
deny a report
: to refuse to grant
deny a request
: to refuse to accept the existence or truth of

Legal Definition


transitive verb
denied; denying
: to declare untrue
a party must…admit or deny the allegationsFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(b)
compare avoid
: to refuse to grant
denied the motion for a new trial

More from Merriam-Webster on deny

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