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[geyn-sey, geyn-sey] /ˈgeɪnˌseɪ, geɪnˈseɪ/
verb (used with object), gainsaid, gainsaying.
to deny, dispute, or contradict.
to speak or act against; oppose.
Origin of gainsay
1250-1300; Middle English gainsaien. See again, say1
Related forms
gainsayer, noun
ungainsaid, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gainsay
  • To gainsay that is to ignore what made this city the vibrant metropolis of today.
  • No one can gainsay the potential for further financial scandal.
  • None of this is to gainsay the utility of negative emotion.
  • Almost nobody dares to gainsay him, even when he goes over the top.
  • All the rational arguments in the world cannot gainsay them.
  • gainsay that your rule of law argument is sophistry.
  • Nobody could gainsay seven wickets against the best team in the world.
  • The gentleman said that he should sink into insignificance if he dared not gainsay the principles of these resolutions.
  • Plaintiffs do not gainsay that the jurisdictional amount in controversy exists.
  • Stated at this level of abstraction, few would gainsay the attractiveness of diversity.
British Dictionary definitions for gainsay


verb -says, -saying, -said
(transitive) (archaic or literary) to deny (an allegation, a statement, etc); contradict
Derived Forms
gainsayer, noun
Word Origin
C13 gainsaien, from gain-against + saien to say1
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 gainsay

"contradict," c.1300, literally "say against," from Old English gegn- "against" (see again) + say (v.). "Solitary survival of a once common prefix" [Weekley], which was used to form such now-obsolete compounds as gain-taking "taking back again," gainclap "a counterstroke," gainbuy "redeem," and gainstand "to oppose." Related: Gainsaid; gainsaying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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