All Words > Gainsay

Sunday, June 5

Gainsay

[gayn-SAY]

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Middle English, 14th century

1.

(formal) Deny or contradict (a fact or statement)

2.

Speak against or oppose (someone)

Examples of Gainsay in a sentence

"It’s hard to gainsay the importance of U.S. blues musicians to 1960s British rock ‘n’ roll."

"The prosecution’s clear evidence gainsays the defendant’s version of the events."

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About Gainsay

In Old English, the terms “gęgn-“ and “géan” both implied reversal or opposition. Adding “gain-” as a prefix to “say” implied “to say in opposition.” This meaning of “gain” is also recognizable in the word “against.”

Did you Know?

The Oxford English Dictionary describes “gainsay” as “now a purely literary word,” but the term appears frequently enough to be familiar. Its most common form is expressed in the negative as a confirmation of unarguable opinion. For example, an argument “cannot be gainsaid,” or “no one may gainsay” a well-supported opinion. In both cases, the inability to gainsay is confirmation of truth.

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