Definitions

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

  • transitive verb To declare to be false; deny. synonym: deny.
  • transitive verb To oppose (someone), especially by contradiction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A gainsaying; opposition in words; contradiction.
  • To speak against; contradict; oppose in words; deny or declare not to be true; controvert; dispute: applied to persons, or to propositions, declarations, or facts.

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

  • transitive verb To contradict; to deny; to controvert; to dispute; to forbid.

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

  • verb To contradict; to deny, refute; to controvert; to dispute; to forbid.

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

  • verb take exception to

Etymologies

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

[Middle English gainsayen : gain-, against (from Old English gegn-) + sayen, to say (from Old English secgan; see say).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English gainsayen, ȝeinseggen ("to say against, say in opposition to"), equivalent to gain- +‎ say.

Examples

  • Indeed, I have offended and done evil; but I crave pardon of Allah Almighty for whatso I did, and if He reunite us, I will never again gainsay thee in aught, no, never! —

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • a proof of my assertion, which I do not think any of them will gainsay, which is, that they all laid down as a principle what they did not perfectly know.

    The Selections from the Principles of Philosophy

  • Far be it for us to gainsay the glories of the Italian kitchen.

    Pappardelle Protectionism

  • Say what you will about that view, it's hard to gainsay the economic gains that Singapore, Malaysia and China all made over the last 30-odd years.

    Beijing and the Arab Revolt

  • None of this is to gainsay the genuine hardships that many of the uninsured face, but we prefer the approach Mr. Obama ran on in the 2008 primaries against Hillary Clinton.

    Texas and Health Care

  • Negotiating these complexities, however, would be a monumental challenge for a 27-year-old CEO who seems most intent on making sure no one can gainsay him.

    Rich, Rich Facebook

  • One hesitates to gainsay those who are putting their money where we journalists are only willing to put our mouths.

    Nothing New Under the Son

  • Admitting the Mubarak regime's contributions to America's interests in the region doesn't gainsay the reality that keeping aging autocracies in power, with no feasible successor in sight, is a status quo that isn't sustainable.

    Egypt's Choice

  • In theory, at least, inferior material, but who can gainsay the wine's elegance?

    Will this be English wine's best ever year?

  • None of this is to gainsay the interests of the world economy in the region.

    Is U.S. Democracy Just Talk?

Comments

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  • Benote gainsay? Eath!

    Luke 21:15 KJV

    For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist .

    Other gain- words:

    gainclap (also gainclapp) - counterstroke, counterblow, riposte

    gaincope - head off, cut off

    gainstand - to stand against

    gainstrive - to strive against

    November 30, 2011

  • deny or contradict; speak against or oppose

    I can't gainsay a single piece of evidence James has presented, but I still don't trust his conclusion.

    October 12, 2016