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defy

[v. dih-fahy; n. dih-fahy, dee-fahy] /v. dɪˈfaɪ; n. dɪˈfaɪ, ˈdi faɪ/
verb (used with object), defied, defying.
1.
to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly:
to defy parental authority.
2.
to offer effective resistance to:
a fort that defies attack.
3.
to challenge (a person) to do something deemed impossible:
They defied him to dive off the bridge.
4.
Archaic. to challenge to a combat or contest.
noun, plural defies.
5.
a challenge; a defiance.
Origin of defy
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English defien < Old French desfier, equivalent to des- dis-1 + fier to trust < Vulgar Latin *fīdāre, variant of Latin fīdere
Related forms
defiable, adjective
defyingly, adverb
predefy, verb (used with object), predefied, predefying.
redefy, verb (used with object), redefied, redefying.
undefiable, adjective
undefiably, adverb
undefied, adjective
Synonyms
1. dare, brave, flout, scorn.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for defies
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Their picturesque pronunciation gives their conversation a piquancy which defies imitation.

    Friend Mac Donald Max O'Rell
  • It is the falsehood of the silliest poetry to say he defies the image of his beloved.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • The plum-stones are graved with hieroglyphics, and counts are curiously made in a way that often defies computation by white men.

    My Native Land James Cox
  • All is soil for the plough, all defies our designs for complete explanation.

    Mountain Meditations L. Lind-af-Hageby
  • Once past youth, these trees possess a thick, corky, asbestos-like bark that defies the average fire.

    The Spell of the Rockies Enos A. Mills
British Dictionary definitions for defies

defy

/dɪˈfaɪ/
verb (transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
1.
to resist (a powerful person, authority, etc) openly and boldly
2.
to elude, esp in a baffling way: his actions defy explanation
3.
(formal) to challenge or provoke (someone to do something judged to be impossible); dare: I defy you to climb that cliff
4.
(archaic) to invite to do battle or combat
Derived Forms
defier, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French desfier, from des-de- + fier to trust, from Latin fīdere
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 defies

defy

v.

c.1300, "to renounce one's allegiance;" mid-14c., "to challenge, defy," from Old French defier, desfier "to challenge, defy, provoke; renounce (a belief), repudiate (a vow, etc.)," from Vulgar Latin *disfidare "renounce one's faith," from Latin dis- "away" (see dis-) + fidus "faithful" (see faith).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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