Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To oppose or resist with boldness and assurance.
  • transitive verb To refuse to submit to or cooperate with.
  • transitive verb To be beyond the application or scope of; be contrary or resistant to.
  • transitive verb To challenge or dare (someone) to do something.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To renounce; reject; refuse; repudiate; cast off.
  • To revolt at; reject from dislike; disapprove.
  • To challenge to contest or trial with arms; dare to meet in combat.
  • To challenge to an action or procedure of any kind; dare to do something (generally with an implication of belief that it cannot be done, or that the action will fail of its purpose).
  • To dare; brave; manifest a contempt of or indifference to (opposition, attack, or hostile force); set at naught; resist successfully: as, to defy the arguments of an opponent; to defy the power of a magistrate.
  • To reject; eject; void: with out.
  • To digest.
  • To digest; be digested.
  • noun A challenge; a defiance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete A challenge.
  • transitive verb obsolete To renounce or dissolve all bonds of affiance, faith, or obligation with; to reject, refuse, or renounce.
  • transitive verb To provoke to combat or strife; to call out to combat; to challenge; to dare; to brave; to set at defiance; to treat with contempt

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete A challenge.
  • verb To renounce or dissolve all bonds of affiance, faith, or obligation with; to reject, refuse, or renounce.
  • verb this sense?) To provoke to combat or strife; to call out to combat; to challenge; to dare; to brave; to set at defiance; to treat with contempt.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb challenge
  • verb resist or confront with resistance
  • verb elude, especially in a baffling way

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English defien, from Old French desfier, from Vulgar Latin *disfīdāre : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin fīdus, faithful; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French desfier, from Vulgar Latin *disfidare ("renounce one's faith"), from Latin dis- ("away") + fidus ("faithful"). Meaning shifted 14c. from "be disloyal" to "challenge."

Examples

  • Regardless of party affiliation or politics, the attacks on Palin defy everything that this country is suppose to be about.

    I'm 'saddened' by 'vicious attacks' on Palin, McCain says

  • Monotremes defy the English word mammal, which implies breasts, or at least nipples.

    Archive 2006-09-01

  • Monotremes defy the English word mammal, which implies breasts, or at least nipples.

    Monotremata

  • Kichwapi colleague Enrique Conejo said some terms defy easy Quechua translation: "The word inflation is a headache."

    undefined

  • Yet, parasites do not by definition defy vaccines.

    Parasite Rex

  • Yet, parasites do not by definition defy vaccines.

    Parasite Rex

  • Yet, parasites do not by definition defy vaccines.

    Parasite Rex

  • I dropped the Ann from my name to defy my mother, who had insisted I be called by the refined name of Carole Ann, not plain old Carole.

    Healed by Horses

  • I dropped the Ann from my name to defy my mother, who had insisted I be called by the refined name of Carole Ann, not plain old Carole.

    Healed by Horses

  • I dropped the Ann from my name to defy my mother, who had insisted I be called by the refined name of Carole Ann, not plain old Carole.

    Healed by Horses

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