9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-nahy-uh l] /dɪˈnaɪ əl/
an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false:
Despite his denials, we knew he had taken the purse. The politician issued a denial of his opponent's charges.
refusal to believe a doctrine, theory, or the like.
disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing.
the refusal to satisfy a claim, request, desire, etc., or the refusal of a person making it.
refusal to recognize or acknowledge; a disowning or disavowal:
the traitor's denial of his country; Peter's denial of Christ.
Law. refusal to acknowledge the validity of a claim, suit, or the like; a plea that denies allegations of fact in an adversary's plea:
Although she sued for libel, he entered a general denial.
sacrifice of one's own wants or needs; self-denial.
Psychology. an unconscious defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts, feelings, or facts that are consciously intolerable.
Origin of denial
1520-30; deny + -al2
Related forms
nondenial, noun
predenial, adjective
redenial, noun
1. disavowal, disclaimer, repudiation.
1. admission, acknowledgment, confession. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for denial
  • This is nothing more than avoidance, sometimes referred to as denial.
  • Yet in some there's a placid acceptance that comes close to denial.
  • He contents himself with the simple denial that no such thing occurred.
  • The quilt she embroiders throughout is an ironic symbol, indeed, of her compulsion and denial.
  • The equality of one class of human beings cannot be purchased by the denial of the equality of another.
  • People have been relying on a promise all along, and then they get a denial.
  • Notice of my denial came last spring.
  • The title story profiles a doctor who swings between denial and terror at his worsening amnesia.
  • Better a friendly denial than unwilling compliance.
  • Her exhaustively researched picture is of a $15 billion industry in near-total denial about the effects it has.
British Dictionary definitions for denial


a refusal to agree or comply with a statement; contradiction
the rejection of the truth of a proposition, doctrine, etc: a denial of God's existence
a negative reply; rejection of a request
a refusal to acknowledge; renunciation; disavowal: a denial of one's leader
a psychological process by which painful truths are not admitted into an individual's consciousness See also defence mechanism
abstinence; self-denial
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for denial

1520s; see deny + -al (2). Replaced earlier denyance (mid-15c.). Meaning "unconscious suppression of painful or embarrassing feelings" first attested 1914 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Psychopathology of Everyday Life"; phrase in denial popularized 1980s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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denial in Medicine

denial de·ni·al (dĭ-nī'əl)
An unconscious defense mechanism characterized by refusal to acknowledge painful realities, thoughts, or feelings.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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