Meaning of gainsay


Gainsay, a verb, means “contradict” or “speak out against.” When you challenge authority, you gainsay, as in teachers don’t like it when unruly students gainsay them.

Gainsay comes from an Old English word that means “contradict” or “say against,” as in, “no one dared gainsay the principal, who is well-known for giving detention to students who so much as frown at him.” If you know someone who constantly corrects others, tells them that they’re wrong, and says, “That’s not true,” more than anyone else, you have first-hand experience with the art of the gainsay.

Definitions of gainsay
  1. verb

    take exception to


    challenge, dispute

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    challenge the sincerity or truthfulness of

    challenge (somebody) to make good on a statement; charge with or censure for an offense
    type of:

    contend, contest, repugn

    make the subject of dispute, contention, or litigation

Word Family

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