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[verb dih-fahy; noun dih-fahy, dee-fahy] /verb dɪˈfaɪ; noun dɪˈfaɪ, ˈdi faɪ/
verb (used with object), defied, defying.
to challenge the power of; resist boldly or openly:
to defy parental authority.
to offer effective resistance to:
a fort that defies attack.
to challenge (a person) to do something deemed impossible:
They defied him to dive off the bridge.
Archaic. to challenge to a combat or contest.
noun, plural defies.
a challenge; a defiance.
Origin of defy
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
1. dare, brave, flout, scorn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for defied
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She stood up in front of the scornful, handsome, hard-eyed woman and defied her.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman Emma Speed Sampson
  • As for the moral precepts of the Koran, they were ignored or defied.

    The New World of Islam Lothrop Stoddard
  • He complained bitterly to the Florentine ambassador, of the haughty friar who rebuked and defied him.

  • Six months ago in Philadelphia—when I wanted some money—he defied me.

    The Golden Face William Le Queux
  • Again his voice went up into the night, as if he defied the poor defences of the dark.

    Troublesome Comforts Geraldine Glasgow
British Dictionary definitions for defied


verb (transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
to resist (a powerful person, authority, etc) openly and boldly
to elude, esp in a baffling way: his actions defy explanation
(formal) to challenge or provoke (someone to do something judged to be impossible); dare: I defy you to climb that cliff
(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 defied



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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