deny


deny
deny, gainsay, contradict, negative, traverse, impugn, contravene are comparable as meaning, when they refer to an act, to declare something untrue, untenable, or unworthy of consideration or, when they refer to a condition, to go counter to what is true or to the facts as they are.
Deny commonly implies a refusal and usually a firm or outspoken refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede, or to acknowledge the existence or claims of
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deny the report that the British ambassador has resigned

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he is no vulgar and stupid cynic who denies the existence ... of any feelings higher than the merely physical— Huxley

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deny citizenship to certain applicants

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deny a request for more books

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for he's a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny!

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the necessities of his own life . . . not any longer to be deniedMary Austin

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it would seem that I was denying God— Meredith

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In the reflexive form deny usually implies abstinence or renunciation often, but not necessarily, for religious or moral reasons
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she denied herself all luxuries

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he resolved to deny himself the pleasure of smoking

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(compare self-denial at RENUNCIATION).
Gainsay is somewhat formal or literary; it implies opposition, usually by way of disputing the truth of what another has said
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facts which cannot be gainsaid

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but she's a fine woman—that nobody can gainsayMeredith

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his mother, whom he could not gainsay, was unconsciously but inflexibly set against his genius— Brooks

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no one would gainsay the right of anyone, the royal American right, to protest— White

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Contradict differs from gainsay not only in usually implying a more open or a flatter denial of the truth of an assertion but also in commonly suggesting that the contrary of the assertion is true or that the statement is utterly devoid of truth; thus, " to contradict a rumor" is a stronger expression than "to deny a rumor"; one may contradict (never in this sense deny) a person, whereas one may deny or contradict (the stronger term) an assertion of his
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a report which highly incensed Mrs. Bennet, and which she never failed to contradict as a most scandalous falsehood— Austen

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"Nobody contradicts me now," wrote Queen Victoria after her husband's death, "and the salt has gone out of my life"— Ellis

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Contradict is also used without implication of a spoken or written denial: it then suggests that an assertion, a doctrine, or a teaching runs counter to something else, and therefore either it cannot be true or the other must be false
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all the protestations of the employers that they would be ruined by the Factory Acts were contradicted by experience— Shaw

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they insisted on teaching and enforcing an ideal that contradicted the realities— Henry Adams

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Negative is usually a much milder term than those which precede; often it implies merely a refusal to assent to something (as a suggestion, a proposition, a nomination, or a bill)
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the senate negatived the proposed taxation

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after a polite request that Elizabeth would lead the way, which the other as politely . . . negatived—Austen

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Beaufort stood, hat in hand, saying something which his companion seemed to negativeWharton

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When the idea of going counter to is uppermost, negative usually implies disproof
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the omission or infrequency of such recitals does not negative the existence of miracles— Paley

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Traverse occurs chiefly in legal use and implies a formal denial (as of the truth of an allegation or the justice of an indictment)
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it traverses the theory of the Court— Corwin

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Impugn usually retains much of its basic implication of attacking and carries the strongest suggestion of any of these terms of directly disputing or questioning or of forcefully contradicting a statement, proposition, or less often a person; it sometimes connotes prolonged argument in an attempt to refute or confute
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the idealists . . . took up the challenge, but their reply was to disparage the significance, and even to impugn the reality, of the world as known to science— Inge

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the morality of our Restoration drama cannot be impugned. It assumes orthodox Christian morality, and laughs (in its comedy) at human nature for not living up to it— T. S. Eliot

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no one cares to impugn a fool; no one dares to impugn a captain of industry— Brooks

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Contravene implies strongly a coming into conflict but less strongly than the other terms an intentional opposition, suggesting rather some inherent incompatibility
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no state law may contravene the United States Constitution or federal laws enacted under its authority— Fitzsimmons

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steps toward the mitigation of racial segregation and discrimination are often forestalled, since . . . these contravene the dicta of Southern customs and tradition— R. E. Jackson

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Analogous words: *decline, refuse, reject, repudiate: controvert, refute, rebut, confute, *disprove
Antonyms: confirm: concede
Contrasted words: aver, affirm, *assert: *acknowledge

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • deny — de·ny vt de·nied, de·ny·ing 1: to declare untrue a party...shall admit or deny the averments Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8(b) compare avoid 2: to refuse to grant denied the moti …   Law dictionary

  • Deny — De*ny , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Denied}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Denying}.] [OE. denien, denaien, OF. denier, deneer, F. d[ e]nier, fr. L. denegare; de + negare to say no, deny. See {Negation}.] 1. To declare not to be true; to gainsay; to contradict;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • deny — [dē nī′, dinī′] vt. denied, denying [ME denien < OFr denier < L denegare < de , intens. + negare, to deny: see NEGATION] 1. to declare (a statement) untrue; contradict 2. to refuse to accept as true or right; reject as unfounded, unreal …   English World dictionary

  • deny — early 14c., from O.Fr. denoiir deny, repudiate, withhold, from L. denegare to deny, reject, refuse (Cf. It. dinegarre, Sp. denegar), from de away (see DE (Cf. de )) + negare refuse, say no, from Old L. nec not, from Italic base …   Etymology dictionary

  • deny — ► VERB (denies, denied) 1) refuse to admit the truth or existence of. 2) refuse to give (something requested or desired) to. 3) (deny oneself) go without. ORIGIN Old French deneier, from Latin denegare, from negare say no …   English terms dictionary

  • Deny — De*ny , v. i. To answer in ??? negative; to declare an assertion not to be true. [1913 Webster] Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. Gen. xviii. 15. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Deny —   [də ni], Jean Joseph Thaddée, Orientalist, * Kiew 12. 7. 1879, ✝ Gérardmer 5. 11. 1963; Professor in Paris, verfasste wichtige Arbeiten zur türkischen Sprachforschung, osmanischen Kultur und Verwaltungsgeschichte und zur orientalischen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Deny — A term formerly used for a woollen dress fabric …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • deny — [v] disagree, renounce, decline abjure, abnegate, ban, begrudge, call on, contradict, contravene, controvert, curb, disacknowledge, disallow, disavow, disbelieve, discard, disclaim, discredit, disown, disprove, doubt, enjoin from, eschew, exclude …   New thesaurus

  • deny */*/*/ — UK [dɪˈnaɪ] / US verb [transitive] Word forms deny : present tense I/you/we/they deny he/she/it denies present participle denying past tense denied past participle denied 1) a) to say that you did not do something that someone has accused you of… …   English dictionary


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