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Gainsay (to deny; dispute; oppose) is considered to be an advanced word, according to the Barron's absolutely essential words for the GRE, which includes 300 college- and graduate-level words that frequently appear on the Graduate Record Exam.

Definition of the verb gainsay

What does gainsay mean as a doing word?

verb - inflections:

simple pastpast participlepresent participlethird-person singular

  1. take exception to
    • example: We cannot gainsay that he is honest.
    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of gainsay: challenge / dispute
    • more generic words: contend / contest / repugn = to make the subject of dispute, contention, or litigation
    • more specific words:
      • call = challenge the sincerity or truthfulness of
      • call = challenge (somebody) to make good on a statement
    • entailment: call into question / oppugn / question = challenge the accuracy, probity, or propriety of

Alternative definition of the verb gainsay


  1. To contradict; to deny, refute; to controvert; to dispute; to forbid.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for gainsay

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewProceedings of the New England Railroad Club, ... (1915)

by New England Railroad Club

Here is an opportunity to develop that art of speaking while on one's feet, which no one will gainsay is an invaluable training. Instances are many of men, by no means young in years, who have entered political life, and who have become able ...

Google previewConnexity and Coherence (1989)

Analysis of Text and Discourse by Wolfgang Heydrich, Fritz Neubauer, János S. Petöfi, Emil Sözer

The possibility to gainsay is an important characteristic of the verbal part of our communication. We cannot, for instance, contradict the non-verbal communication (laughing, crying, and the like) of our partners. A third component facilitating ...

Google previewA Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2010)

The Classic First Edition by H. W. Fowler, David Crystal

gainsay is a LITERARY word, & now little used except in negative contexts such as There is no gainsaying it, Without fear of being gainsaid, That can scarcely be gainsaid. gala. Pronounce ga-. galaxy ...

Google previewThe International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (1915)

by James Orr

Williams GAINSAY, gan-sa', gan'sa (dvrctirov, anteipon, AVriXl-yu, antiUgo, "to say or speak against"): Occurs as anteipon, "not .... able to withstand or to gainsay" (Lk 21 15) ; as anlilego, "a disobedient and gainsaying people" ...

Google previewMerriam-Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms (1984)

by Merriam-Webster, Inc

Gainsay is somewhat formal or literary; it implies opposition, usually by way of disputing the truth of what another has...

Google previewA Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (2001)

by Bryan A. Garner

Originally gainsay was the popular word, and contradict the learned one; today just the opposite is true. Gainsay may now appropriately be labeled a formal word. E.g., "Judge Cire was in the unique position of being able to judge the credibility ...

Google previewA dictionary of the Malagasy language, by J.J. Freeman (D. Johns). (1835)

by Joseph John Freeman, David Johns

Gainsay, v,a. manohi-teuy, manda, ma mono teny, in a ml nil), mam- pandaingia. Gainsay or, s. mpanobitra, mpamono teny, fahavalo, rafilahy. Gairish, a. mihaingiohaingio, mio- manomana. Gairishness, *. fihaingiohaingioana. Gait, s, fandeha ...

Google previewCrossword Puzzle Dictionary (2015)

by Murali Mohan Hundigam

tartar Dental operation—extraction Dented—dimpled Dentine—ivory Dentition —teeth Denture's components—false teeth Denudes—strips Denunciatory speech—philippic Deny—abnegate, contradict, disown, disavow, gainsay, disclaim, ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for gainsay

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Usage statistics about gainsay

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb gainsay:


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Video language resources about gainsay

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Scrabble value of G2A1I1N1S1A1Y4

The value of this 7-letter word is 11 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of GAINSAY

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See also the blanagrams of gainsay!

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